For the past four years, the Centre’s Data Fellows Programme has allowed us to explore new ideas and work with highly-skilled individuals who bring a fresh perspective. Their work has contributed to the creation of new workstreams, improvements to our products and services, and compelling data stories. As we started to plan for this year’s programme, we realized that our current priorities and projects require deeper engagement than a fellow typically has time for. We have therefore decided not to run the Data Fellows Programme in 2022. Below we explain our reasoning in more detail. 

We are focused on long-term issues.  

There are two areas in particular that we would like to explore in the coming period, both of which can’t be neatly tackled in the two-month timeframe of the fellows programme. One area is related to the impact of the climate crisis on humanitarian operations. For this, we will be taking forward past research (from one of our fellows) on complex systems modeling and seeing how this technique might be applied in different contexts with different shocks. We are partnering with the University of Bergen and others on this research, which we expect will continue for some time. 

Another focus area is around the Centre’s strategy development. Our current business plan takes us through 2023 and we are on track to meet the targets in our results framework. As we begin to prepare for our next phase, we will be reflecting on our position within the UN and the humanitarian sector, the products and services we offer, and how we can best meet the challenges ahead. For this, we will be looking to hire a research and design firm that can provide expertise in business strategy development, design thinking, and futurecasting.  

We are short on time. 

The fellows require and deserve significant attention from our team. Whereas in past years we have been focused on generating new ideas, we are currently focused on implementing existing ones. We were concerned that we would not be able to dedicate enough time to each fellow to ensure their success. More recently, we have been working to support the humanitarian response in Ukraine, which will continue to be a priority along with the many other pressing crises in Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere. 

We value the in-person experience. 

For the last two years, the fellows programme has been held remotely due to pandemic travel restrictions. Although this has worked well given the circumstances, we missed having the fellows with us in the office. It is hard to replicate the collaborative and creative spark that comes from working in-person with a multi-disciplinary team. 

The Data Fellows Programme will be back in one form or another. We trust that in 2023 we will be in a better position to recruit an amazing class of fellows to tackle new projects. And we certainly hope that we will be able to hold our next programme together in The Hague. If you have any questions, contact us at