The first three ODI fellows began their work in 1963. Since then, over 1,000 fellows
have worked with over 50 governments and international organisations.
The ODI fellowship scheme gives early-career economists and statisticians the chance
to work as public sector civil servants on two-year contracts in low- and middleincome countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Western Balkans.
The scheme provides host institutions in these countries with high-calibre
professionals to fill pressing skills gaps, while offering fellows the experience of working inside bureaucracies in a different country context to their own.
Fellowships are determined primarily by the needs of the scheme’s partner
governments. The continued demand from governments for ODI fellows, as well as the
level of responsibility entrusted to them, is testament to the respect the scheme has
earned over the 59 years since it was established.
The ODI fellowship scheme is open to candidates of all nationalities and we support
and encourage applications from LGBTQ+ and disabled candidates. Postgraduate
economists and statisticians with an interest in development are encouraged to apply.
Successful candidates are expected to serve for the full two-year contract and be
ready to work in any of the scheme’s partner countries. For more details on entry
requirements, please see the section ‘Application information’ below.
The aims of the scheme
The fellowship scheme provides host governments with highly qualified, early-career
economists and statisticians and provides unique work experience to fellows.
How host institutions benefit from the scheme
Responding to country needs
Fellows are part of a government or international organisation and, together with their colleagues, effectively identify the most pressing needs of the host organisation.
Because fellows are embedded, they learn the relative strengths of their
department and work together with their colleagues to tailor policies, models and ways of working that are practical and in line with the capabilities of the host institution.
Fellows are only placed in host institutions where certain technical skills and thematic knowledge are currently missing. Through close collaboration over a two-year period, colleagues learn important skills and acquire knowledge from fellows.
How ODI fellows benefit from the scheme
Fellows gain valuable experience as civil servants. They learn about their host
country, its policy landscape, and public service delivery in low- and middle-income
countries, as well as the challenges of receiving aid from bi- and multilateral donors.
They gain new technical skills as they work with colleagues to fill skills gaps. This
experience is a unique opportunity for economists and statisticians and highly
valued by fellows and their future employers.
ODI fellowships are also an opportunity for international exchange and lesson
sharing between civil servants: some ODI fellows bring experience of another civil
service and many more go on to work in large bureaucracies, either at home or in
Future career opportunities
The scheme enjoys an excellent reputation and fellows benefit from the prestige
associated with the scheme. ODI fellows have gone on to build successful careers in
the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, academia, the
private business sector, and non-governmental organisations as well as their own
country governments. Many choose to stay on in the country of their fellowship
How to apply
Our next application round will take place in March 2022. Full details of how to
apply online will be made available at odi.org/odi-fellowship-scheme/.
Applications will only be accepted if they are completed correctly according
to the instructions available on our website and submitted by the closing date.
Applicants must be willing to commit to a two-year period in any of the
countries that participate in the scheme. However, to ensure the safety of all
involved, we take personal characteristics into account when placing fellows –
see previous page.
• March 2022: Applications for the ODI fellowship scheme are accepted.
• 27 April 2022: Closing date for receipt of applications.
• Early May 2022: Short-listed applicants are invited to an interview.
• Late May 2022: Interviews take place, after which firm or conditional offers are
made to successful candidates.
• June–July 2022: The ODI team visit all participating governments to discuss roles
and candidates’ CVs. The team meets all current fellows and their
supervisors to check fellowships are going well and to gain feedback
on issues relevant to the scheme.
• July 2022: Governments submit requests for new fellows with job descriptions
and a short-list of preferred candidates.
• July–August 2022: ODI and governments agree on which candidates are allocated to
• September 2022: A briefing session is held at ODI in London to prepare new fellows
for their roles.
• October 2022: Successful candidates begin their fellowships.