Recruiting now: USF Trustee (African urban studies)

Blog Recruitment 14th February 2022
The deadline for applications to this position is 11th April 2022, at 23:59 GMT.

The Urban Studies Foundation (USF) seeks to recruit a specialist in African cities and urban studies to sit on its Board of Trustees, from summer 2022 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The successful candidate should ideally be located on the African continent, or may be temporarily located elsewhere but maintain a very close connection with African urban studies networks.

The USF is an increasingly well-known major charitable body involved in the support of urban studies research and education. The USF has a global reach for achieving its mission, including knowledge transfer, exchange and mobilisation. Through their active engagement in such activities, and participation in Board meetings, USF Trustees play a crucial and responsible role in the strategies, polices and financial decisions of the USF. The role requires collegiality and commitment to collectively guide and oversee the USF in delivery of its charitable aims and objectives. Serving as a Trustee provides an opportunity to shape the future of global urban studies.

Following a strategic audit and evaluation of the existing Board of Trustees during 2021, the USF has identified a specific requirement and opportunity to increase representation of African urban studies research, networks, and knowledge production on the Board. This follows from the globally-oriented mission and context of the USF, and the corresponding requirement for a Trustee Board Member with the established networks and energy to represent academic research and policy debates around African cities and urbanisation processes. This is particularly the case given the USF Board’s need to ensure that USF resources are being used appropriately and to good effect, to assess performance against objectives, and to evaluate new strategic initiatives as best possible across all regions worldwide.

More details about the role and profile specification of a Trustee Board Member can be found below, along with further information about the application process. All applicants should ensure they have consulted the Further Particulars for this position before applying, which contains the full specification for the position.

Additional information can be sought by contacting the USF Director of Operations via email, Joe Shaw (, but applicants should also feel free to speak informally with other current Board Members if they wish.

Key details:

  • Appointments to the USF Board of Trustees are for four years, renewable once for a further two years by mutual consent.
  • All Trustees will be required to sit on USF awarding panels and subcommittees as requested by the Chair, and may be expected to serve as Chair after their first two years of tenure. These commitments can be intensive at times and should not be underestimated.
  • USF Board meetings occur at least twice per year in person (where possible), and attendance is compulsory for all Trustees (though this may be via online video call if necessary on occasion).
  • The role of charity Trustee is unremunerated, but it is USF policy to cover all reasonable expenses incurred as a result of taking-up this position (e.g. travel and accommodation). The USF may also cover some extra-ordinary care costs incurred by Trustees (e.g. childcare), and prospective applicants should contact the USF Director of Operations prior to applying to discuss their specific case/needs in relation to USF Expenses Policy.

Essential requirements of Trustee candidates include:

  • They should have a firm and demonstrable commitment to the core aims and objectives of the Urban Studies Foundation, and to the roles and responsibilities of a Trustee in upholding and delivering upon these aims and objectives. Applicants should also consult the website of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) to better understand the role and duties of a charity Trustee in the United Kingdom (however, please note that Trustees may be based anywhere globally, and it is not a pre-requisite that individuals have prior experience as a Trustee).
  • They should have demonstrable experience, knowledge, expertise and active involvement in African urban studies (but may come from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including geography, sociology, urban planning, economics, etc.).
  • They should have an ability to work with the USF in the English language (but it is not essential to have an extensive publication record in English).
  • They should be readily available for USF Board Meetings, and other roles and responsibilities required of USF Trustees. More information on the roles and responsibilities of a USF Trustee may be found in the Further Particulars.

Desirable requirements of Trustee candidates include:

  • They are ideally located on the African continent, or are temporarily located outside the continent but maintain a very close connection with African urban studies networks. Their expertise may focus on any region of Africa.
  • They are either an academic (with a permanent post at an African university or research institution), or are otherwise making a clear and sustained contribution to urban discourse and policy and have demonstrable links to networks of African urban studies scholars globally and/or within Africa (i.e. candidates from posts in policy and practice are also welcome, and a PhD is not compulsory provided the candidate possesses equivalent relevant experience).
  • They may be an early-career researcher, provided that their profile clearly fits the above requirements and they also have a secure, fixed-term appointment at a relevant research institution or organisation.

Provided they meet the requirements outlined above and in the Further Particulars, all candidates will be assessed with consideration for their local opportunities and resources. Additionally, all applicants should be aware that the USF operates with a firm commitment to equality of opportunity as defined by the UK Equality Act 2010 (as noted in the USF Code of Practice). This means that the USF Trustee recruitment process recognises a need (a) for the USF Board to collectively represent the diversity of urban research and the global reach of the organisation’s activities and objectives, and (b) that the Board Membership secured is respectful of different dimensions of human diversity, and mindful of the existing composition of the Board.

Application process:

To apply for this role, candidates must submit the following via the web form below:

  • Applicant details and contact information.
  • Cover letter (.pdf format, maximum two pages A4 and 2mb filesize).
  • Professional CV (.pdf format, maximum five pages A4 and 2mb filesize).
  • Contact details for two suitable professional referees (who should also be working in the broad field of urban studies research and/or policy and practice).

Further details on the requirements for these application materials may be found in the Further Particulars for this role, along with information on the selection process and timeline.

Applicants to USF funding, employment and voluntary positions will also be invited to complete an anonymous Equality and Diversity survey, which will be automatically sent to all candidates following the application deadline.

Apply now:

All applicants must ensure they have consulted the Further Particulars for this scheme before applying, available to download below. Applications must be submitted before the deadline via the form below, and any queries or clarifications should be addressed via email to the USF Director of Operations, Joe Shaw (

Applicants will receive confirmation of their application upon submission, as well as a link to the anonymous Equality and Diversity survey.

Further Particulars (.pdf)

Apply here!