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ODI Fellowship Scheme - Application FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What qualifications do I need?

Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree or PhD in economics, statistics or a related field by the time they take up a Fellowship. A strong academic background in either economics or statistics is a prerequisite.

When/how can I apply?

We invite applications on an annual basis each November.

When will I hear back?

We aim to contact all applicants by mid-January 2020. Please ensure the email address you include in your application is valid, and check your junk mail, as bulk-generated mailings may end up there.

What is the salary?

The salary is £21,000 for the first year, rising to £23,000 in the second. In addition, Fellows receive a rental allowance to cover the cost of their accommodation. 

Where will I be based?

At the time of recruiting, we do not know in which posts or countries we will be placing Fellows. Following discussions with partner Governments in March – June, we will confirm the posts and locations we are placing Fellows.

It is likely many of the posts currently occupied by Fellows will receive a 'replacement' Fellow, but all posts are assessed and Government needs and preferences are taken into account. 

Will I need a work permit/visa?

This varies from country to country, and it depends on the Fellow’s nationality.

ODI will provide support in terms of supplying an official letter of support, and requesting the employing Government supplies whatever documentation is required for a visa or work permit purposes. If related costs are not covered by the employer (e.g. in the case of a work permit) then ODI will reimburse.

We expect Fellows to use regular and economy services and any express or fast-track charges would require consultation with ODI before approval.  

Can I apply if I graduated several years ago?

Yes. Work experience is valued by our partner Governments, with some posts well-suited to applicants with several years’ work experience.

What is the recruitment process?

See page 23 of our booklet for a month-by-month breakdown of the recruitment, selection and placement process.

What is the format of the interviews?

The interview consists of a panel interview and a group assessment. Attendance at both is essential and you should plan to be at ODI for a half day.

When will the interviews take place?

10 – 14 February 2020.

Where will the interview be held?

At the ODI offices in London. See directions.

Can I interview via Skype/phone?

No. All interview invitations are for candidates to attend in person on the allotted date. 

When will I hear regarding the outcome of the interview?

We generally contact candidates within a week of the last day of interviews

When would I start work?

Placements begin in September/October each year. There may be exceptions, for example if a visa application or work permit is delayed. 

Can I defer my placement?

No, we do not offer to defer Fellowships.

However, we would not discriminate against a candidate if they had previously turned down an offer.

If unsuccessful, can I reapply in the future?


How many Fellows are being recruited?

We expect to place around thirty-five Fellows in 2020.

Does ODI cover expenses for partners?

The Scheme does not provide financial assistance to partners (married or not) nor does it provide assistance to partners for visas or in obtaining work in the country of posting.

Will I receive training prior to taking up post?

We hold a briefing week in London in July. This takes place over a whole week (Monday – Friday) and covers topics such as working in Government, administration of the Scheme, medical, security and insurance sessions. 

For 2020, the training will take place 27 – 31 July.

Is it necessary to have work experience?

Many applicants take up Fellowships directly after finishing their master’s degree; however, the Scheme is very competitive and candidates with at least some work experience will be in a better position.

Employing Governments value work experience, as well as academic qualifications, in the candidates that they select.  

Are there any restrictions regarding the nationality of applicants?

No, we welcome applications from all nationalities.

We try never to place applicants on their own, or a neighbouring, country. We take into account the logistics of placing certain nationalities in specific countries, e.g. if there are likely to be difficulties obtaining visas or work permits. 

What personal qualities are you looking for in candidates?

It is important for applicants to have an open mind about the various postings and countries that we operate in. We expect them to be ready to serve the full two years in any of our partner countries. 

Adaptability, commitment, perseverance and initiative can all be essential qualities for Fellows. 

An ability to work in challenging environments with colleagues from very different backgrounds is necessary.

An interest in development is expected. 

Are there any language requirements?

Most Fellowship posts are in English-speaking countries.

We would normally only post a Fellow fluent in the native language.

Portuguese, French and Swahili are useful for some posts.

ODI provides a language allowance when necessary to ensure Fellows are able to operate effectively in their roles. 

What references do I need to supply?

We ask that applicants provide two academic referees and one professional referee.

One undergraduate and one postgraduate referee is suggested for the academic referees.

Should I provide my university transcript?

No. Please complete the application fully and include any relevant information on it. We will not accept any supplementary documentation in support of your application.  

Does ODI provide insurance for me when I am overseas?

Yes, ODI provides medical insurance for the period of your posting.

Contact us

ODI Fellowship Scheme
Overseas Development Institute
203 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ

Tel: +44 (0)207 922 0356

Fax: +44 (0)20 7922 0399

[email protected]