Job Profile
Commonwealth Scholarship Academic Adviser


The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) is inviting academics to join our panel of Academic Advisers.

Advisers play a critical role in the selection of graduate Commonwealth Scholars and Professional Fellows, using an online report form to submit grades and comments which inform scholarship candidate selections made by CSC Commissioners. The panel consists of academics from a wide range of UK higher education institutions with expertise in a broad range of subject areas.

The CSC is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and 90% of our scholarships are for applicants from low- and middle-income countries. Successful candidates are selected for their evidenced ability to contribute towards the development of their home countries upon completion of their studies.

Applications are submitted under one of our six development themes:

  1. Science and technology for development
  2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
  3. Promoting global prosperity
  4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
  5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
  6. Access, inclusion and opportunity

For more information about the work of the CSC and our scholars, please visit our about us page, read the most recent Annual Report and our biannual magazine, Common Knowledge, featuring the work of a range of Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni.

The Role

The Commonwealth Scholarship Academic Adviser role is non-stipendiary and will appeal to academics with an interest in the role of graduate study and professional advancement for international development, sustainable development and/or the values of the Commonwealth, and who are looking to boost their experience of international scholarships and research partnerships.

There may be opportunities for Academic Advisers to participate in Scholar engagement activities. This  includes attendance and participation at events such as the annual welcome and farewell events, workshops that form part of the CSC’s Development Training Programme, and CSC visits to the Adviser’s own institution or region to meet with Scholars. CSC staff will promote these opportunities to Advisers as and when venue capacity and expense budget permits.

The CSC will provide regular updates to Academic Advisers including feedback on the outcome of applications they have assessed.

Academic Advisers assist the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in assessing:

  • The quality of a applicant’s academic profile and academic merit in relation to the degree chosen. It is vital that the applicant’s academic record is outstanding.
  • That there is strong/outstanding evidence that the applicant is well-prepared for a Master’s degree or a doctorate in the selected subject/discipline.
  • That the applicant’s selection of university, course or research programme (and where relevant, the supervisor) is justified and appropriate in relation to their aims and future plans
  • The relevance and significance of the applicant’s aims and objectives in relation to development impact in their country on completion of the degree and the likelihood of successful outcomes.

Subject areas where expertise is particularly welcome

We welcome expertise from all academic fields however we would appreciate particular expertise in the following areas:

  • Agricultural Sciences and Botany
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biology, Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Climate Change
  • Crisis Management
  • Engineering (all areas, especially electrical)
  • Economics
  • Food Sciences and Food Security
  • Geography and GIS
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Public and Social Policy
  • Public Health and Medicine
  • Physics
  • Sustainability and Renewable Energy

Please note that applications in all study areas are welcome. 

If you are interested in joining the Panel but your subject area is not listed above, please do still submit an application as all subject areas will be welcomed.

We are also seeing an increase in applications which are inter-disciplinary in nature, so if your expertise covers a number of different fields or you work in an area which overlaps with another discipline then we would particularly welcome your application. 


  • To serve on the panel for a three-year term which is renewable twice to a total of nine years’ service. Your appointment will be for a one-year probation in the first instance, with appointment for a further two years based on satisfactory performance
  • To review and grade approx. 10-20 online student applications per year based on your particular academic disciplines
  • To grade and provide a one-page online report for each student application in a template form provided by the CSC, no longer than one side of A4, by an agreed deadline
  • Most review requests will be during academic term time with the peak period likely to be between January-April


We are looking for prospective panel members who are:

  • Employed at a UK higher education institution
  • Appointed at Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Senior Research Associate, Reader, or Professorship level (or equivalent experience)
  • Experienced at teaching graduates
  • Experienced at supervising PhD candidates

Panel members should also meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Experience of teaching students from low- and middle-income countries or researching or collaborating with agencies/individuals from such contexts
  • Experience of selecting successful applications for Master’s and PhD study either for specialist degrees or across a range of cognate disciplines
  • A good understanding of the issues highlighted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The ability to assess applications based on the CSC’s criteria of promoting and measuring ‘development impact’

How to apply

Please complete the application form online.

All applications must be received by 10:00 GMT on Monday 6 November 2023.

Please do share this notice with any colleagues who may be interested.

Should you have any queries or require further information please contact us at