Consultancy to review, (co)design and (co)develop the Innovation Fellowship programme for UNHCR (Home-based)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Closing date: 18 Mar 2018

JOB TYPE: Consultancy

DUTY STATION: Remote work/Home-based

START DATE: As soon as possible


CONTRACT TYPE: Individual Consultant


The Innovation Service within the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is soliciting proposals to review, (co)design and (co)develop the Innovation Fellowship Programme from consultants with experience designing and developing innovation programmes for large organizations.

What is UNHCR Innovation Fellowship programme?

The UNHCR Innovation Fellowship is a 12-month learning programme for UNHCR’s workforce. Each year, we select 20-25 Fellows to participate in the programme. The Fellowship programme focuses on building the Fellows’ innovation competencies in addition to supporting them facilitate innovation with colleagues, partners, and refugees in their own operations or divisions. Over the course of the year, Innovation Fellows learn and use innovation methods, tools, and embed new approaches in innovation projects. They focus on problem-solving, ideation and experimenting solutions to real-life challenges in the field or at Headquarters, with the aim of transforming these challenges into action-oriented projects and opportunities for change. The Fellows act as the Organisation’s ambassadors for innovation and lasting positive change.

The Innovation Fellowship program is managed by the UNHCR Innovation Service in partnership with the UNHCR Global Learning Center (GLC). One full-time staff member, the Innovation Fellowship Program Manager, oversees the program and provides dedicated support to the Fellows throughout the year.


The Fellowship was established in 2013, with the 2018 class being the fifth cohort. The program has evolved over the years, creating a growing network of alumni around the world. To date, there are over 100 Fellows/alumni working in UNHCR’s field operations worldwide and at headquarters, representing a diversity of nationalities, skill sets and expertise.


The mission of the Innovation Fellowship Programme is to foster a culture of innovation in UNHCR by investing in people who have the drive, ambition and interest to find new ways to solve challenges facing the Organization in its service of Persons of Concern.

The Programme is run in English.

The Innovation Service would like to rework the Innovation Fellowship Programme in 2018. The revised Fellowship programme aims to:

● Have a less linear model (from challenge identification to ideation to experimentation to implementation) in order to have a greater focus on experimentation;

● Put less emphasis on the implementation of innovation projects and more emphasis on the different elements of innovation (especially experimentation), and a different way of thinking and acting;

● Have an increased emphasis on supporting Fellows diffuse innovation in their respective operations/divisions;

● Better utilize financial resources allocated to the Fellows’ innovation projects to support the programme’s learning outcomes around experimentation;

● Significantly and substantively increase collaboration among programme participants, as well as individuals they work with (their respective colleagues, partners and refugees); and

● Increase emphasis on communication, with a view of equipping Fellows with the skills needed to better articulate and share their experiences and work with all stakeholders, including the Innovation Service.


UNHCR Innovation is seeking a suitable qualified consultant to review and co-develop the Innovation Fellowship programme. All activities should be done in collaboration with the UNHCR Innovation Service, particularly the Innovation Fellowship Programme Manager. The scope of the assignment includes the following:

  • Review existing programme curriculum and materials;

  • Turn the Innovation Service’s approach to experimentation into tangible learning objectives, milestones and activities in the programme (throughout the duration of the programme);

  • Revise and redraft the curriculum to foster greater collaboration among programme participants and the individuals they work with (i.e. colleagues, partners, refugees, etc.). The curriculum should also encourage Fellows to work together (globally), and should infuse activities into curriculum that support greater collaboration and community creation;

  • Revise curriculum to create greater peer-to-peer/team focused learning opportunities, especially online, keeping in mind that many programme participants are in remote and low bandwidth locations;

  • Redesign the use of financial resources of the program. Financial resources allocated to the Fellows’ innovation projects should be better utilized to support the program’s learning outcomes around experimentation;

  • Redesign materials (submission and worksheets) to implement the curriculum; and

  • Revise the existing workshop outlines to reflect the approach of the reworked curriculum (both the 5-day kick-off workshop and the 3-day midterm workshop).

Please note that the aim of the curriculum revision is not to create an e-learning package and/or learning toolkit, but rather rework the existing curriculum to reflect the proposed learning objectives outlined above.


UNHCR Innovation Service has an experimental approach to developing the programme. It continues to experiment and evolve the programme in an iterative fashion. Nevertheless, the minimum expected deliverables are as follows:

A revised curriculum with:

  • tangible learning objectives, milestones and activity descriptions around experimentation;

  • tangible learning objectives, milestones and activity descriptions supporting greater collaboration among Fellows as well as with individuals they work with;

  • tangible learning objectives, milestones and activity descriptions supporting greater peer-to-peer/team focused learning opportunities;

  • redesigned utility of financial resources for the programme; and

  • workshop outlines reflecting the approach of the reworked curriculum (both the 5-day kick-off workshop and the 3-day midterm workshop).


12 April: Initial curriculum revision and an outline for the kick-off workshop.

May: Continue evolving the curriculum/programme based on the initial workshop.

30 June: Finalization of the curriculum/programme revision and an outline for the second workshop.

How to apply:

Qualified candidates are requested to submit a cover letter and CV via email to The cover letter should include a short description of three most recent and relevant projects they have worked on (What was the project about? What did they do? What were the approaches and methodologies used? What were the results?).

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Deadline is 18 March.


Innovation Fellowship website:

Innovation Fellowship YouTube Series:

Innovation Service’s approach to experimentation:**