Call for Trustees

Blog Recruitment 29th August 2023

The deadline for applications to the USF Board of Trustees is 27th October 2023 (23:59 UK time).

The Urban Studies Foundation (USF) seeks to recruit up to three new Trustees to serve on its Board, starting throughout 2024. To ensure that the Board will be in the strongest possible position to meet USF objectives, the USF encourages applications in this round of recruitment from scholars with: (a) expertise in quantitative fields of urban studies, and (b) regional expertise in urban studies within either Asia or Latin America. For more details please see the Further Particulars for this call, at the bottom of this page.

The USF has increasingly established itself as a 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, 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, the USF especially seeks to recruit Trustees with:

  • expertise in quantitative fields of urban studies, including but not limited to: urban economics (and subfields in housing, infrastructure, regional science, and/or development finance), geospatial analysis (and subfields in AI, big data, GIS, modeling, urban data analytics, and/or other geosciences), and urban environmental approaches to global climate crises. Expertise should also extend to engagement with critical perspectives of these fields.
  • the established networks and energy to represent academic research and policy debates around cities and urbanisation processes within Asia or Latin America. Candidates living and working in other regions will be considered provided their research networks and expertise focus on Asia or Latin America, and one space from this round will be considered for a Trustee permanently based in the UK or Europe who have demonstrable networks and scholarly focus in these regions.

Further Particulars about the role, profile and person specification of a Trustee Board Member can be found below, along with further information about the selection process. Applicants should ensure that they have read this document, and that they understand the role and legal duties of a Trustee as defined by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) before applying (though USF Trustees may reside in any country worldwide, and the majority of the existing Board is based outside of Europe).

Further Particulars (.pdf) (2023 call)

Additional information can be sought by contacting the USF Managing Director 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 serve on USF awarding panels and committees as requested by the Chair and Managing Director, 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, with online committee meetings occurring throughout the year.
  • Annual General Meetings occur twice per year (occasionally in-person), 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 Managing Director prior to applying to discuss their specific case/needs in relation to USF Expenses Policy.


Essential requirements of candidates include:

  • A firm and demonstrable commitment to the core aims and objectives of the USF, and to the roles and responsibilities of a Charity Trustee in upholding and delivering upon these aims and objectives.
  • Demonstrable experience, knowledge, expertise and active involvement in urban studies research (e.g. they are either an academic or are otherwise making a clear and sustained contribution to urban discourse and policy).
  • An ability to work with the USF in the English language (but it is not essential to have an extensive publication record in English).
  • Being readily available for Board Meetings, and other roles and responsibilities required of Trustees. More information on the roles and responsibilities of a Trustee may be found in the Further Particulars, but this includes strategic engagement and oversight in the global advancement and support of urban studies.

Other desirable experience might include demonstrable experience in academic publishing, editorial roles, and/or strategic planning for non-profit organisations and research funding (including prior experience as a Trustee or comparative roles with other organisations).

Provided they meet the requirements outlined above, 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 our Code of Practice, and the Further Particulars for this role). 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.

How to apply

To apply for this role, candidates must submit the following via the webform below: (1) contact and profile details, (2) a cover letter (.pdf format, no more than two pages A4, maximum 2mb file size), (3) a CV (.pdf format, no more than five pages A4, maximum 2mb file size), and (4) the 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).

Candidates should ensure that cover letters clearly detail the requested information outlined in the Further Particulars, that CVs follow the requested format, and that the referees provided are suitable and willing.

Further Particulars (.pdf) (2023 call)

Apply here! (2023 call)

Other notes

The recruitment short-listing process will take up to twelve weeks. Candidates may be requested to attend an online interview with the USF Recruitment Committee. 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 their application.

Candidates who exceed the page count for either their cover letter or CV will not be considered. The USF regrets that it cannot offer any feedback on individual applications, and the decision of the USF Board of Trustees in relation to this appointment must be regarded as final.

Candidates with any doubts on the requirements above should contact the USF Managing Director to discuss further.