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Intern, Innovation Programme

Brussels | Brussels

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners’ expectations.

With over 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, wherever they need it.

A flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to our partners' needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale. 

Background information- Cities Alliance

Cities Alliance, which is hosted by UNOPS, is a global partnership for the promotion of cities in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Headquartered in Brussels, and supported by a Secretariat, it is a unique partnership with diverse members – local authorities, national governments, international non-governmental organisations, foundations and multi-lateral organisations – which have come together to strengthen both impacts and coherence in urban development. Cities Alliance is a global leader, with a strong track record in grant making, that supports strategic city planning, slum upgrading strategies and national policies designed to make cities more inclusive and sustainable. Its overall objectives are to support cities in providing effective local government, an active citizenship and a growing economy characterised by both public and private investment. Members promote longer-term and integrated work programmes, while actively promoting gender equality throughout all activities.

Background Information - Job-specific

Cities Alliance seeks a qualified, well-motivated intern for an initial period of six months. The internship will be located at the Offices of the Cities Alliance Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. The selected candidate will work within the Programme Unit team, under the supervision of an Urban Analyst.

The priority focus of the internship will be to provide support to the Cities Alliance Innovation Programme, which is regarded as one of the organisation’s flagships. The Innovation Programme is a Cities Alliance funding instrument that provides grant support for innovative projects that strengthen and promote the role of cities in poverty reduction and sustainable urban development. It has two  strategic objectives: (i) to catalyse urban transformation processes that promote more inclusive cities by connecting cities and their innovative ideas to Cities Alliance members; and (ii) to facilitate the sharing of the knowledge and learning distilled from innovative project experiences on global urban challenges.

This internship with the Cities Alliance Secretariat team offers the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to project/programme management, grant making and administration, communication and learning. In addition, the intern will be exposed to the latest developments in the field of urban development and to a variety of innovative projects and practices.

Functional Responsibilities

Support to the Innovation Programme management

  • Provide support to the call for proposal process, including preparation and revision of templates and documents on the thematic focus of the call and the application requirements.
  • Assist in the project selection process, including processing of proposals, answering applicant inquiries, compiling proposal information, liaising with the external evaluation panel.
  • Support the grant processing in coordination with the Finance and Operations Unit, including the preparation of grant agreements and the coordination of completed supplier profiles.

Communication support to the Innovation Programme

  • Support the launch and maintenance of web and social media campaigns to disseminate the Innovation call and its results (Cities Alliance website, Facebook, Twitter).
  • Assist in updating and generating web content on the Innovation Fund.
  • Provide support to editing, formatting and updating publications and papers related to the Innovation Programme, including related procurement.

Knowledge and Learning support to the Innovation Programme

  • Support the preparation and organisation of learning and exchange activities among grantees of the Innovation Programme, such as webinars and in-person exchanges.
  • Provide support to capture the knowledge and results of projects funded under the Innovation Programme
  • Assist with background research on urban development related topics relevant under the Innovation Programme, e.g. Land and tenure security, Migration, Youth, Resilience, Gender.

General Programme Unit support

  • General substantive and administrative support to activities of the Programme Unit team, such as project management support, research on urban development issues in developing countries, organisation of policy dialogues, etc.

The above is only a preliminary outline of potential tasks which may be revised in view of emerging exercises or necessary tasks.


Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. 
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.


  • All applicants must be enrolled in a university degree program such as Bachelor, Masters or Ph.D. (or the equivalent), or have graduated from such studies within three years prior to the application date of the internship. Candidates enrolled, or graduated with Masters or Ph.D. (or the equivalent) will be preferred. 
  • Area of study and interest should be preferably one of the following: communications, business administration, project management or information management, with strong focus on international development.


  • Prior exposure to similar work experience and/or UN/international organization system would be a distinct advantage (but not a requirement).
  • Interest and experience in social media and communications.
  • Strong interest in urban development in developing countries.


  • Fluent in English both writing and speaking. Basic Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese is an asset;
  • Knowledge of other UN languages will be considered as advantage;

Additional: Qualified female applicants are especially encouraged to apply.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Brussels | Brussels
  • Grade: Internship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2017-08-08

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