Senior Policy Officer in International Cooperation in the European External Affairs Programme


Beschrijving van de vacature

The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) headquartered in Maastricht is looking for an entrepreneurial senior professional to join its European External Affairs Programme and to contribute to the Centre’s policy analysis, dialogue, networking, and independent knowledge brokerage:


Senior Policy Officer in International Cooperation in the European External Affairs Programme



You are a dynamic and experienced policy oriented professional. You have the ability to lead teams and will be excited at the prospect of working in a dynamic and fast-paced ‘think and do’ tank at a time when Europe and the world are changing. You have a Master’s degree or Ph.D. and/or extensive experience strongly relevant to European foreign policy or development cooperation and a deep understanding of the EU international cooperation agenda, particularly where it relates to Africa. You have a record of publications that can speak to a policy audience and a feel for the real world of implementation and its challenges. You are a credible senior expert to external audiences while acting with modesty and have experience with fundraising and delivering projects and supervising teams. You are comfortable working in an international multi-cultural organisation with a continued requirement for high quality delivery under pressure energises and motivates you. You are able to adapt your knowledge, network and competences to ECDPM’s niche, organisational culture, strategy and workplan, while also bringing in fresh perspectives on content and methodologies.



ECDPM is a non-partisan ‘think and do tank’ working at the interface of where development meets international relations. Our main goal is to broker effective partnerships between Europe 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 Europe and in developing countries. Its partners include 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.


About the European External Affairs programme.

By being well informed about global, African and particularly the EU and European context, this programme focuses on improving the overall relevance and coherence of EU external action and the effective delivery on development objectives.  The programme contributes to inclusive and informed policy dialogue processes, the effective and responsible integration of development dimensions into EU policy-making and external action, and the participation of EU and developing countries’ public and private sector actors in innovative EU development policies. To strengthen the implementation of EU policies and reduce ‘implementation gaps’, the programme promotes the effective functioning of the new EU architecture for external action, while contributing to a more coherent Union that speaks with one voice. The programme pays particular attention to engaging with African partners so as to improve their understanding of EU processes and institutions and better equip them to engage with the EU. It is a follow-up programme to the Strengthening European External Action Programme for ECDPM’s new strategic period 2017-2021.


Key commitments of the ECDPM Senior Policy Officer

The Senior Policy Officer will use her/his knowledge to develop analytical and support projects within the team’s mandate. S/he will manage activities and staff. S/he will represent the programme/team externally as well as engage with other teams across the Centre.


  1. To effectively manage project teams for delivery on complex and high profile projects/policy processes
  2. To supervise, coach and mentor Policy Officers and Research Assistants and contribute effectively to team work
  3. To decisively contribute to the building, expanding and maintaining of relevant all-centre strategic networks and partnerships
  4. To identify new funding opportunities, develop funding proposals and effectively secure funds for assigned projects and/or policy facilitation activities
  5. To develop specialised knowledge on key policy issues through assembling content, doing research and brokering knowledge


The Senior Policy Officer (SPO) is an important member of ECDPM’s staff with responsibility across the Centre in terms of sharing knowledge. S/he will be a full team member of the programme and report to the Head of Programme or another member of ECDPM Management Team / Programme Management Group, depending on specific initiatives. Taking into account personal qualities and experience, and in accordance with the needs of ECDPM’s overall strategy and other programmes, additional activities may be assigned to her/his portfolio, notably in the context of the European foreign and development policy agenda. The SPO may be asked to take on duties of a Deputy Head of Programme as required.


Professional and personal requirements





Academic Background



1.     Masters or Ph.D. in a relevant discipline in the social sciences



Professional Background



2.      At least 10+ years work experience in a professional setting covering issues broadly related to ECDPM’s international cooperation mandate



3.      Solid and demonstrated expert knowledge and network in at least two of the following issues: (i) The EU’s development policy and practice (ii) European foreign policy (iii) Europe-Africa relations (iv) the political economy of Africa or a particular region of Africa (v) global development policy, related to the 2030 Agenda (vi) applied political economy analysis



4.      Experience with the practice of programming, implementing or evaluating international cooperation



Core Competencies



5.     An excellent, in-depth and critical perspective on the European Union’s (EU institutions and member-states) development cooperation and foreign policy and the ability to shape relevant research and analysis, and broker dialogue and knowledge including in collaboration with colleagues



6.  Extensive and proven writing, editing, analytical and synthesis skills, including the ability to structure arguments and present options to policy makers and non-specialist policy audiences in a non-partisan way. Clear evidence of significant and relevant policy-oriented publications in English or French.



7.  Practical mind and excellent interpersonal and communication skills in a multi-cultural environment (including flair, enthusiasm and modesty) and willingness and interest to work in and motivate a team



8.  Proven fundraising skills as demonstrated by success in securing funding for policy oriented activities in the international cooperation realm



9. Proven senior applied research skills related to at least two of the following: 1) strategic policy development, 2) translation of policy to practice 3) evaluation 4) political economy analysis



10.  Proven experience managing different donor funded research or policy projects (timelines, deliverables, budgets, quality control, people) including delivery of quality work to demanding stakeholders



11. Experience of representational duties and presenting your own original analysis at a high level



12. Good understanding of gender issues and how policy oriented research on gender issues



13.  A familiarity with social media in a professional context and with communication tools in general



Languages and Experiences



14.  Complete fluency in English is required (writing to a publishable standard and ability to explain complex policy ideas and broker and facilitate dialogue in English), fluency in French would be an asset, and/or one other additional European language.



15. Experience living or working in Africa or another developing/transition context





Annual income depending on experience would be in the range of €70,000.


ECDPM offers a lively and attractive working environment, space for autonomy and personal growth, and ample opportunity for participating in exciting areas of policy development for international cooperation.


The appointment provides a generous package of leave (9+ weeks on annual full time basis) and other benefits such as a pension scheme and training budget.


Application Process


Applicants should fill in an ECDPM application form specifically created for this job that can be found on, under vacancies. Applications should be submitted electronically to the email address <>, to the attn. of Guy Janssen Human Resources, as soon as possible (deadline COB - Friday the 10th of August 2017).  Please enter: “Application for SPO: – EEA team” in the subject line. Candidates should ensure that hyperlinks linking to 3 published pieces of work are available in the application form as assessment of these will be part of the short-listing process. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview and additional assessments and tasks directly relevant to this job announcement.


More information on ECDPM, its strategy, work plan and programmes can be found at