Learning from Consortia - Academic Advisory Board

Closing date: 30 September 2020
Job Type: Paid
The LfC programme is an initiative designed to learn from UKAC programme funding and the consortia currently delivering these programmes. UKAC is funded by the FCDO, formerly DFID.

Learning from Consortia (LfC) Programme

Summary of the programme

The Learning from Consortia (LfC) programme is an initiative designed to learn from UK Aid Connect (UKAC) programme funding and the consortia currently delivering these programmes.  UKAC is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), formerly DFID.  The programme aims to use UK Aid Connect consortia as a unique opportunity to test these assumptions, provide needs-based support, learn extensively from the experiences of the consortia and to grow the research and evidence base to support future effective consortia approaches.  The programme will adopt an action research learning approach, pulling together, collating and analysing the learning, knowledge and experience on consortium working within UK Aid Connect from up to 14 different programmes of work.  The programme seeks to work with the consortia members to learn and share the lessons from the consortia in such a way as to offer wider benefit for current and future initiatives, to address the current gaps in understanding and to package, disseminate and inform donor and civil society practice.  The programme will draw out evidence of the additional value consortia can deliver and is a learning focused programme on UKAC, not a formal evaluation.  The LfC programme is led by Bond and works with The Partnering Initiative, and putting the Academic Advisory Board in place will complete the programme implementation team. The Advisory Board will provide the programme with expert input on key themes and increase the rigour and value of the research process, as well as reviewing and validating research outputs. The board will play a key role in the implementation team during programme delivery. 

Programme Aim and Objectives

a.    Learn from the consortia experience
b.    Support the consortia to deliver more effectively
c.    Drive learning on effective consortia working across the consortia, DFID and beyond

  1. UKAC consortia learn, adapt and work more effectively to deliver their intended development outcomes through participation in a collective learning exchange process across consortia on 5 designated themes
  2. UKAC consortia learn, adapt and work more effectively to deliver their intended development outcomes through the provision of direct Consortia Adviser support
  3. Learning generated from the LfC programme is analysed, packaged and disseminated to the wider humanitarian and international development sector to enable improved consortia working
  4. FCDO and other donors learn from the LfC programme results in order to better support consortia for development outcomes

The Academic Advisory Board 

The Academic Advisory Board will perform a critical role in our learning about consortium working.  We are generating learning through an action research process with practitioners. The Advisory Board will help ensure that this research is useful and valid, builds on existing expertise and will support the programme in sharing that learning more widely.  It is a great opportunity to use academic expertise to increase impact in the field.

The Board members will provide expert input, advice and validation of the action research process throughout the duration of the programme, including but not limited to:

Providing expert input on our key themes

  • Providing academic input on gender, value for money, community engagement (beneficiary feedback) and innovation (including carrying out literature reviews), and potentially also consortia working.
  • Ad hoc advice to thematic technical experts.

Increasing the rigour and value of the research process

  • Feeding back on hypotheses and proposed learning questions.
  • Supporting the shaping and implementation of research methodology.

Review and validation of research outputs

  • Reviewing and validating the results of the action research and learning insights.
  • Supporting the development of a small number of research papers with Bond and TPI experts.
  • Participating in LfC programme learning events.

Programme Governance

One board member will be a part of the programme governance by:

  • Attending and participating in the Steering Committee/Oversight Board on a quarterly basis.
  • Working with the group to oversee risk management, financial oversight, organisational ownership of content and scope change management.
  • The role will be selected by the board in their first meeting in October. 

The Academic Advisory Board that will meet on a quarterly basis over the course of the programme.  The inaugural meeting will happen in October 2020, with one additional meeting in the first quarter.  

There will be a total of 6 meetings of the board over a 15-month period.  There will also be 2 x 1-day workshops to review how the programme is progressing at the mid-point and towards the end of the programme period. It is currently planned that all meetings will take place via a web-based platform, but in 2021 some meetings and workshops may be held in-person.

The Chair of the Board is to be confirmed.

The Learning from Consortia programme is looking for academics with individual expertise in one or more of the areas that the programme is focusing on (Consortium Working, Gender, Innovation, Community Engagement/ Beneficiary Feedback, Value for Money) to join the Advisory Board.  Individuals will be selected on the basis of their thematic expertise and their understanding of the consortia context, as well as their understanding and prior experience of action research as a methodology, and an ability to work collaboratively.  We are also open to an additional academic with expertise on action research to provide support across the programme.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Credentialled academic(s) in the humanitarian and international development sector.
  2. Recognised academic expertise and willingness to provide research advice on at least one of the following areas: Consortium Working, Community Engagement/ Beneficiary Engagement, Gender, Innovation or Value for Money.
  3. Experienced in action research work and drawing coherent learning out of practitioner led research.
  4. Passionate about learning from practice in their field.
  5. Able to work collaboratively and constructively as part of a Board and to meet the time commitment required for the Academic Advisory Board between October 2020 and December 2021.
  6. Meet research standards and codes of conduct equivalent to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework – www.ref.ac.uk .
  7. Experience of supporting practitioner-led research and able to work and communicate effectively with people who range in experience of action research from beginner to intermediate.
  8. Expression of interest submitted provides good value for money.

We welcome applications from individual academics within their fields, as well as academic institutions who could potentially deliver on all or part of these Terms of Reference.  We particularly welcome applicants from low- and middle-income countries who we are keen to be represented on the Academic Advisory Board.

Anticipated deliverables

At the start of the research process

  • Literature searches with an academic and practitioner focus on at least one of the following areas: Gender, Innovation, Community/ Beneficiary Engagement and Value for Money  (Consortium working )
  • Validate research questions for overall LfC programme
  • Validate the research methodology and plans for the 5 themes
  • Identify good practice in the relevant field(s)

During the research process

  • Review and comment on the emerging research findings, identifying patterns and trends
  • Advise on the ongoing research methodology and process
  • Liaise with Consortium Advisers and Thematic Advisers
  • Input to sessions during the 3-4 key Learning Events
  • Recommend relevant contacts/organisations for further input

Towards the end of the research process

  • Identify links to previous academic research, and integrate the outcomes from the LfC research into existing knowledge
  • Quality assurance and validation of the final outcomes and knowledge products
  • Frame the emerging messages for further research

There will need to be some flexibility from the Board.  This is for two reasons: firstly, to allow for the deliverables to evolve slightly in-line with overall programme developments and secondly to capitalise on the various levels of expertise that Board members will bring to the programme.

Role Breakdown

The Academic Advisory Board is being formed to provide support to the programme across the above deliverables. Some thematic areas will have different levels of engagement required due to the approach taken with them on the programme.

The breakdown of the anticipated engagement levels across the programme thematics is as follows:

Thematic Engagement Level

Community Engagement

Gender Full
Innovation Full
Value for Money Partial 
Consoria Working Partial

Full engagement= This may involve applying some of the above deliverables to planned Learning from Practice sessions with the consortia. 

Partial engagement= We do not plan for there to be as much engagement with the Learning from Practice sessions on Consortia Working, due to the anticipated involvement of existing Consortium Advisers.  For the Value for Money thematic Learning from Practice group sessions will not be taking place.  

An approximate weighting visualisation is below:

Pie chart breaking down academic advisory board thematic engagement levels by five areas; community engagement, gender, innovation, VfM, and consortia working


The budget envelope for the work of the Academic Advisory Board is up to the value of £170,000 in total and this breaks down to up to £34,000 per thematic area.  The proposed breakdown submitted in the outline budget should be reflective of the above role weighting and breakdown.  This budget envelope is also inclusive of any expenses.

Application notes

Please submit your expression of interest, outlining a) your motivation b) how you meet the eligibility criteria, c) your proposed budget, to Laura Bennett, Programme Coordinator, [email protected] by 16:00 UK time on 30/9/2020.  Please note that Bond reserves the right to close applications sooner than the deadline if a suitable range of applications have been received.  If you have any specific queries about your submission, please email [email protected] no later than 28/9/2020.  Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview via Zoom (or similar) week commencing 5/10/2020.

Please mention Bond when you apply for this position.