Linking policy and practice in international cooperation

Vacancy: Research Assistant for the European External Affairs Programme and Migration Programme

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The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) in Maastricht is looking for an entrepreneurial professional to contribute to the Centre’s policy research, dialogue, networking, and brokering activities.

ECDPM is a “think and do tank”. Our main goal is to broker effective partnerships between the European Union and the developing world, especially Africa. ECDPM promotes inclusive forms of development and cooperates with public and private sector organisations to better manage international relations. It also supports the reform of policies and institutions in both Europe and the developing world. One of ECDPM’s key strengths is its extensive network of relations in developing countries, including emerging economies. Its partners embrace multilateral institutions, international centres of excellence and a broad range of state and non-state organisations. ECDPM was established in 1986 as an independent foundation.

Your expertise will allow you to assist in the research and execution of activities of the centre’s European External Affairs Programme (75%) and Migration Programme (25%).

ECDPM activities

European External Action Programme

The European External Affairs programme contributes to the strengthening of European external action. It focuses particularly on improved overall coherence and delivery on sustainable development objectives. During the planned assignment period, we will be engaged in promoting the EU’s overarching strategies and policy frameworks directly related to external affairs, international development and Africa. We will focus on the challenges of developing policy, but also address implementation hurdles at both headquarters and in partner countries. During the planned period, we will pursue the following outcomes:

  • Politically informed and adaptive policymaking processes in Europe and Africa
  • More inclusive European policy dialogues and cooperation processes, with the appropriate actors informed and engaged
  • More effective, coherent and integrated European policies to tackle global challenges, including stronger links between distinct domains of diplomacy, development, security and trade/economics policies and between energy, climate and natural resources diplomacy
  • A reduced gap between European external action policy commitments and actual implementation
  • European institutions and non-state actors that are better-equipped to operate in the EU’s established legal, financial and policy frameworks and effectively contribute to the 2030 Agenda

Migration Programme

The overall aim of the Migration programme is to help bring about a more comprehensive and effective governance of migration and mobility, focused on maximising its development potential within Europe-Africa cooperation. The programme will contribute to all four impact areas in ECDPM’s 2017–2021 strategy, while advancing the Centre’s goal to contribute to SDG 10 ‘reduce inequality within and among countries’, particularly target 7 ‘facilitating orderly, safe and responsible migration’. More concretely, the programme seeks the following outcomes:

  • Improved understanding and the evidence base for addressing migration-related development challenges and opportunities, with a view to informing European policy and practice and partnerships with the AU, RECs and African countries
  • Enhanced coherence between the different sectors and policy domains touching upon migration strategies in the context of Europe-Africa relations
  • A rebalancing of the current short-term, reactive and crisis-oriented migration policy towards a more forward-looking development orientation

Taking account of the above topics, ECDPM seeks to appoint a full-time staff member as Research Assistant to the European External Affairs Programme to further develop and implement its work in this area. The initial contract will be for 6 months extension to one year on performance. The staff member will be based in Maastricht, a small city in the South of the Netherlands 90 minutes from Brussels.

Terms of Reference

The Research Assistant will support the European External Action Programme (75%) and the Migration programme (25%). To do so, she/he will:

  1. Support the programmes by undertaking targeted pieces of desk research (both qualitative and quantitative) on European External Affairs/Migration and delivering pieces of timely high quality written work to other members of the teams
  2. Attend conferences, seminars and events focusing on European External Affairs/Migration and report back on these in writing in a timely and clear manner
  3. Support the production of written policy-relevant material related to European External Affairs/Migration by proof-reading, undertaking research and in certain circumstances and with clear supervision writing sections or co-authoring blogs, briefing notes and discussion papers. For excellent writers some possibility to single author short articles/blogs exists under close supervision.
  4. Maintain an up to date overview of policy debates in the area of European External Affairs in particular those related to i) to EU development policies and their implementation ii) Migration iii) Sahel region of Africa
  5. Develop and maintain notification of official documents related to the European external action/Migration that is logically ordered and easily accessible by the entire team.
  6. Under the supervision of programme staff conduct outreach to African and European stakeholders and research relevant individuals and institutions to ensure that they are informed of ECDPM’s work and outputs with support of other programme staff
  7. Provide written synthesis of policy and other documents and reports of interest to the programmes

The Research Assistant is a full team member of the Programmes. Taking into account specific personal qualities and experience, and in accordance with the needs of the ECDPM’s other programmes, other activities may be assigned to her or his portfolio as well.

Professional and personal requirements

We are looking for a creative individual to manage various key tasks and activities, which require a variety of skills. To this end, the candidate should have:



ECDPM offers a lively and attractive working environment, space for autonomy and personal growth, and ample opportunity for participating in an exciting emerging area of policy development for international cooperation. ECDPM currently has a lively cadre of young professionals drawn from across Europe and Africa. This post is based in the Maastricht office of ECDPM.

Since the Research Assistant position is regarded as an extended traineeship aimed at providing initial working experience in the international arena for development policy, the initial appointment is for six months usually extend to a year, with gross monthly salary of (Euro 1,775.15 gross/month). The appointment provides a generous package of (compensation) leave (9+ weeks on annual fulltime basis) and other benefits such as pension scheme and training budget.

Application process

Applicants should fill in the application form that can be found on, under vacancies. Applications should be submitted electronically to the email address, to the attention of Mrs. Karen Gielen, Corporate Officer Human Resources, as soon as possible (deadline Monday 23 January 2017 COB). Please enter: “Application for RA: EEA-Migration Team” in the subject line. Applications without an application form (i.e. just a CV) will not be considered. Within one week after the application deadline the outcome of the pre-selection process will be communicated to all applicants. For short-listed candidates invited for an interview, additional assessments directly relevant to this Job Description would be part of the recruitment process.