Urban Scholars [this program is under review and not taking new applicants]

Our Urban Scholars are high level academics and urban sustainability professionals who support the work of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme by making their expertise available to member cities and partners and sustainable urban development projects. Some may chose to also provide technical mentoring to Cities Programme Interns.

The expertise of our Urban Scholars is 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

Urban Scholars may make an Expression of Interest (EOI) upon receiving an invitation from a UN Global Compact – Cities Programme staff member.  The process of engagement follows that invited academics and practitioners who are based in Australia or in any of our member cities and meet the aforementioned criteria submit a brief 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 a follow up in person interview and orientation with International Secretariat staff.

Please note, 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.

Lodgement of the Expression of Interest

Following the invitation, the Expressions of Interest can be submitted 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]”.