Program Officer, Higher Education Support Program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Aug 29

Position description

Program Officer, Higher Education Support Program. London. Posting Date: 08/28/2019. Deadline: 09/27/2019

Salary is competitive plus benefits

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

Program Officer is a pivotal role at OSF. Their main responsibility is to work in collaboration with other HESP colleagues to develop and implement portfolios of grants. This role has responsibility for carrying out existing grant making obligations, scoping for new funding opportunities, and managing relationships with potential and current grantees as well as the broader OSF network.

The Program Officer will work in collaboration with other HESP colleagues to develop and implement portfolios of grants, plan and oversee strategic convenings and manage consultancies. In the short term, the position will primarily focus on the field of higher education for refugees. The candidate must be willing to be flexible as their areas of work may expand to a broader focus in the future depending on the skills and experience of the successful candidate, as well as the needs of the program. The position is ideally suited to an experienced higher education professional, who is familiar with key trends and tensions in the field of higher education for refugees, and who can demonstrate a complex understanding of the role of universities as drivers of social change, especially in the main geographies where OSF operate. The candidate should ideally have grant-making experience.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities include the following:
  • Responsible for grant-making activities in the field of higher education for refugees, with potential for new areas of focus in the future. This responsibility includes annual grant planning, writing grant recommendations, identifying and working with prospective grantees, conducting organizational assessments, negotiating project budgets and contracts, and undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees.
  • Operates with considerable autonomy and make decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget.
  • Collaborates with HESP colleagues and senior program leadership to contribute to the development and implementation of strategy for existing bodies of work and new bodies of work in line with future HESP' s strategies;
  • Assesses organizational capacities of key grantees and provides capacity building opportunities in order to strengthen the field;
  • Builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g. with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community, policy makers, multilateral agencies) that advance portfolio goals;
  • Identifies joint programming opportunities with external funders and partners;
  • Conceptualizes and convenes meetings and seminars with relevant HESP partners;
  • Manages financial and budget reports to track spending and assists in planning and development of annual budgets;
  • Represents HESP at relevant events, meetings and conferences;
  • Undertakes other duties as requested by HESP.


Candidate Profile

  • Substantial experience in relevant higher education, civil society, multilateral, development, government and/or consulting organizations;
  • Deep knowledge and experience in the field of global higher education, including understanding of main policies, actors, trends and controversies;
  • Good familiarity with key dynamics in the field of higher education for refugees;
  • Ability to think creatively about the role of higher education in advancing open society mission and values;
  • In-depth knowledge of and practical experience in developing or emerging countries; knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa region will be an asset;
  • Complex project management experience;
  • Ability to work effectively as a team member and independently, with high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals and deadlines;
  • Excellent collaboration skills including demonstrated ability to work effectively with others, recognizing the value of diverse geographic and thematic experiences;
  • Excellent strategic and analytical skills including the ability to combine external and internal inputs into a compelling strategy and theory of change, and to implement that strategy; to synthesize complex bodies of information and articulate operational decisions; to assess progress and adapt as appropriate;
  • Adaptability and ability to work in conditions of change and ambiguity, and to stretch oneself to adopt new skills that respond to changing circumstances and challenges;
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English are important. Proficient level of another language strongly preferred;
  • Sensitivity to cultural differences is essential;
  • Willingness to undertake regular international travel; and
  • Experience in interacting with non-profit organizations in a donor capacity is highly desirable.


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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