Urban Scholars

Our Urban Scholars are high level academics and urban sustainability professionals who support the work of the Cities Programme by making their expertise available to member cities and partners of the Cities Programme and to Cities Programme Interns (upon negotiation).

Expertise can be shared with cities and partners in the form of:

  • verbal and written technical advice
  • guidance on the development of research projects
  • capacity building
  • monitoring and evaluation activities.

In turn, Urban Scholars benefit from the opportunity to be engaged in valuable work on real time projects, increasing their exposure and building links to the UN and other international projects.

The formal recognition and appointment of Urban Scholars to the International Secretariat started in 2015. It is part of a broader strategy to link researchers to participant cities and regions and support member cities & partner organisations to advance the Ten Principles and the SDGS in areas that are of critical importance to the city or region; specifically

  • to strengthen the development of multi-partner sustainable urban development projects.
  • increase the amount of specialist expertise available to member cities and regions
  • enable research that supports the sustainable development agenda
  • strengthen the service provision of the Cities Programme

Selection Criteria for Urban Scholars

Cities Programme Urban Scholars:

  • have specific disciplinary knowledge that is of value to cities and regions and expertise related to SDG global challenges of urbanization and the built environment, as well as planning, urban community development, governance and policy.
  • have professional skills and experience in government or private sector with a focus on inter-disciplinary problem solving skills for cities.
  • write concisely in English, additional languages highly regarded.
  • work in an accountable, professional manner and meet deadlines.
  • are active in applied research and have demonstrated skills and willingness to support the Cities Programme, member cities, external bodies such as the public sector, NGOs and business to:
    • promote the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact – human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.
    • support the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • inform and strengthen cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaboration as a mechanism to tackle critical issues in the urban environment.
    • shape equitable, sustainable and just cities and regions.

Urban Scholar Engagement

Interested academics and practitioners who are based in Australia or in any of our member cities, and meet the aforementioned criteria, are invited to submit a brief Expression of Interest (EOI) in taking on an Urban Scholar role. The EOI must outline the academic’s areas of interest against the above criteria, potential areas of engagement and opportunity and come with a professionally relevant referral. Successful applicants will be invited to attend an interview with the International Secretariat.

Please note that the Urban Scholar position is honorary – a small mutually agreed amount of work is expected to be undertaken on a pro-bono basis. Other work will be remunerated on a pre-established, mutually agreed hourly rate.

Lodge an Expression of Interest

Expressions of Interest must be initiated online via this form:  UN Global Compact – Cities Programme Urban Scholar Expression of Interest

Supporting documentation for the EOI can be emailed to julia.laidlaw@citiesprogramme.org with the subject title: “Urban Scholar EOI CV: [YOURNAME]”.