Short-Term Consultant on Developing a Model for Higher Education Scholarship Opportunities

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Location
    Brussels, Belgium
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Oct 05

Position description

Short-Term Consultancy on Developing a Model for Higher Education Scholarship Opportunities in Europe as a Pathway of Refugee Admission Bureau for Europe, Policy and Legal Support Unit The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has consistently advocated for the development and expansion of student scholarship schemes for refugees, particularly in the context of record numbers of displaced persons as well as ongoing protracted displacement situations. As growing numbers of refugees are without a solution in first countries of asylum, and refugee arrivals to Europe via the dangerous Mediterranean route continue, the need for safe and legal pathways of admission to complement resettlement programmes in the European Union (EU) remains urgent. Scholarship opportunities to higher education institutions in the EU, as one of a number of options, have the potential to offer such a pathway while, in turn, offering refugees hope for a better future, enhanced opportunities for economic self-reliance, and greater participation in civic and public life.

In September 2016, the coordinating partners of the European Resettlement Network (ERN), IOM, ICMC, and UNHCR launched a project entitled ERN+ ‘Developing Innovative Models for the Protection of Refuges and Providing Support to New Resettlement Countries’, co-funded by the European Union. Building on the experience that the ERN has accumulated since 2010, this project seeks to contribute to the expansion of the European protection landscape by informing the debate around the development of complementary pathways of admission, and identifying potential models for such pathways in the EU. Higher education scholarships constitute one area of the project’s focus.

In the framework of the ERN+ Project, UNHCR wishes to engage a consultant on a short-term basis to produce a detailed feasibility study on the development of an innovate European “model” for refugee admission to the EU in the form of higher education scholarship programmes. This feasibility study will use the Netherlands as an instructive case study to develop a framework for a student scholarship programme that can serve as an informative and accessible guide for a range of stakeholders in other Member States of the European Union.

The work will be conducted by the consultant in the period from October to December 2017 and should be principally home-based. Flexible working arrangements can be discussed. The successful candidate will be expected to start working immediately for a total period of approximately 8-12 weeks.

Main duties and responsibilities

Working in close collaboration with the ERN+ Project co-ordinator and consulting with UNHCR, IOM and ICMC Europe:

  • Draft a study paper in excellent English on the feasibility of establishing student scholarship programmes in EU Member States, with a focus on the Netherlands;
  • Produce, as the central dimension of this study, a workable model that can serve as an informative tool for stakeholders from government, civil society and refugee groups and higher education institutions, among others, interested in establishing student scholarship programmes as a pathway of refugee admission to Europe;
  • Conduct independent research, including interviews, into the topic as well as the country of focus and the EU, including relevant legal instruments, policies and practice in this area;
  • Further develop the assessment of relevant existing student scholarship programmes, both in Europe and elsewhere, in order to identify appropriate lessons to be taken from such schemes and applied to the workable model that the study will produce;
  • Provide integrated analysis of the following important considerations throughout the study both from a policy/legal perspective and a programming/organisational perspective:
    • The target group of beneficiaries for a student scholarship programme;
    • Application and selection procedures;
    • Models for pre-departure preparation and training;
    • The entry visa and residence status granted to beneficiaries of such a programme (focus on Dutch and EU legal framework);
    • Sustainable funding for a predictable and manageable programme, with particular attention given to the potential for innovative and robust funding models to support such programmes;
    • Partnerships with institutions of higher education and the types of courses that can be offered to beneficiaries;
    • The network of support provided to students arriving under such a programme;
    • Models for the reception and integration of students both in the university campus as well as the wider local community;
    • Post-graduation status and livelihood considerations such as protection against refoulement, access to non-student residence permits, pathways to employment or further study;
    • Models for coordination between relevant actors, a clear division of roles and responsibilities, and systems for programme monitoring and oversight.



  • University degree of at least Master level in law, political sciences, education or migration studies or similar subject;
  • Ideally more than five years of relevant professional experience;
  • Knowledge of tertiary education in the context of displaced persons and persons of concern to UNHCR, preferably with specific knowledge of this in the European Union (EU) context;
  • Knowledge of policy and legal frameworks in the EU and/or its Member States (particularly the Netherlands) in the area of asylum, migration and higher education;
  • Excellent research and drafting skills, with demonstrated experience;
  • Excellent English language skills, and the ability to write to a high standard in English.


  • Knowledge of the Dutch language is considered a particular asset.

Application instructions

Interested candidates must submit:

In addition, a CV/resume in another form may be submitted.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit examples of previous relevant work to demonstrate their research and drafting skills.

Applications must be submitted by email to [email protected] by 23:59 (Central European Summer Time - Brussels) on 15 October 2017. The subject line of the email should read “Application for ERN+ Consultancy”. Early applications are encouraged. No late applications will be accepted. Due to the expected volume of applications, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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