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In 2020 we welcomed our first cohort of research fellows, supporting scholars from academia and industry to research topics relevant to our mission. The success of our initial cohort of fellows encouraged us to continue the programme, and in the last few years, we welcomed further cohorts to help us widen our networks and build rich ties with academia, industry, governments and civil society. The research has explored a wide range of topics, including data institutions in China, anonymised personal data, health data, economic models for valuing data, privacy-enhancing technologies and more.

Research fellowships offer researchers the opportunity to work with the ODI team, connect with our networks and draw on our expertise. This helps them to widen their influence beyond traditional academic or industrial settings with help from the ODI’s peer support and impact-focused outreach.

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Join our fellowship programme

The ODI continues to extend an invitation to more researchers (MSc / PhD-level and beyond) to join our ever-expanding community of fellows and help us further explore our emerging areas of interest. ODI Research Fellowships are unpaid, and are therefore primarily open to individual researchers from across the world who have or can apply for existing research funding or are otherwise supported by their employer/ academic institution.

The value of an ODI research fellowship comes from gaining access to the ODI’s expertise as well as the opportunity to connect with our expanding network of current and former researcher fellows and our vibrant network of ODI members. Fellows will be assigned a supervisor from the research team, and will be embedded in the relevant project or programme team. Fellows also benefit from the potential for collaboration and overlap with research conducted by us and our partners in academia, industry, government and civil society. Research conducted through an ODI fellowship is richer as a result, and can create impact well beyond a researcher’s primary circle.

We welcome applications on an ongoing basis. To apply, please fill in our application form. As well as your basic details, you will need to provide:

  • Your CV
  • Details about how you intend to use the fellowship – including a plan of the research you want to carry out and your suggested start date
  • Details about expenses you would require the ODI to cover to make your fellowship a success
  • For senior scholars and independent researchers: references of published work in professional publications
  • For researchers in academia: a letter of recommendation from an academic supervisor

Fill out the ODI research fellowship application

Fellows are selected based on the topic fit of their work to existing ODI research; the potential impact of outcomes of the research; and their personal fit into the organisation. You can find an overview of our current research programmes here. Shortlisted fellows will be asked to present their plan in a short interview before a decision is made.

Our preference is for fellows to join us in our offices in London, at least for part of their time with us, but we understand that that may not be possible due to funding or travel restrictions. Please indicate in your application whether and for what duration you would like to work with us in person.

We aim to accept ten fellows in 2024, with three places reserved for fellows connected to institutions from the global South. We particularly welcome applications from underrepresented backgrounds.

2024 fellowships should begin in the current calendar year, and may run until April 2025.

Work by our fellows

Over the last few years, ODI Fellows, work placements and secondments have produced an impressive body of work, ranging from blogposts, think pieces, lectures and applied tools to research articles published by academic journals and NGOs. Below is a sampling of those outputs to demonstrate the range of outcomes and outputs that a collaboration with the ODI can lead to.

A survey of data quality requirements that matter in ML development pipelines