Program Specialist, Higher Education Support Program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Apr 12

Position description

Program Specialist, Higher Education Support Program. London. Posting Date: 04/11/2019. Deadline: 05/05/2019

The Higher Education Support Program (HESP) aims to leverage higher education as a means towards developing and strengthening open societies around the world. HESP works with grantees in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East to promote innovative teaching and research at higher education institutions, to improve access to higher education for marginalized groups, to protect intellectual freedom, promote good practices and support the role of higher education in advancing social justice. HESP works with leading thinkers in education and development to stimulate discussion of higher education policy and the role of universities and scholars in the development of open societies.

Job Profile

HESP seeks to recruit a Program Specialist to join our team in London. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated interest in the field of higher education, strong analytical and organizational skills and an ability to write clear, well-structured prose. The successful candidate will work across HESP's portfolios but with a primary focus on the program's initiatives in the field of higher education for refugees.

We are seeking a creative colleague who is able to take initiative and work independently towards clearly specified goals. The Program Specialist role may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • support the program in analyzing the higher education landscape and the relationship between higher education and the development of open societies.
  • conduct research and synthesize large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio or other program processes.
  • contribute to scoping new fields of work, identifying high potential new partners and assessing organizational capacity, including financial health.
  • analyze and assess grant proposals (including budget analysis), designing grants (type of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.) and drafting grant recommendations
  • help with ongoing field monitoring and shepherd projects through all stages of the grant process. May be asked to take on administrative responsibilities on an ad-hoc basis, including developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and processing consultancy agreements.
  • partner closely with program administration staff to ensure efficient flow of grants processing and other similar information.
  • build collaborative relationships within HESP, as well as across OSF's geographic and thematic entities.


Candidate Profile

  • three to five years of experience in civil society or philanthropic organizations, universities or development organizations; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • knowledge of the field of higher education with demonstrable understanding of current trends and debates.
  • knowledge of and experience working in the Middle East and North Africa will be strong assets.
  • knowledge of the refugee education field and of Arabic and will be strong assets.
  • administrative and organizational skills, including compiling and analyzing budgets and other administrative processes.
  • ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
  • ability to work constructively with colleagues at all levels of the hierarchy in the organization.
  • ability to function effectively in cross-cultural settings, particularly in the context of the power dynamics of a grantee-granter relationship.
  • diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.
  • excellent computer skills and comfortable using technology extensively.
  • willingness to travel.
  • commitment to the principles of an open society.


Application Instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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