• Role reports to the Transparency International – Defence & Security Research and Policy Manager, based in Brussels
  • Daily rate of £150-200 dependent on qualifications and location
  • Short-term consultancy contract: about 20 days of work
  • Full- or part-time


Transparency International – Defence and Security (TI-DS, www.ti-defence.org) a TI programme led by the UK chapter of TI and dedicated to fighting corruption in the defence and security sector globally. TI-DS works with governments, defence companies, multilateral organisations, and civil society to build anti-corruption capacity and integrity across the world.

TI-DS is seeking a researcher to prepare a case study on corruption risks affecting, exacerbated, or mitigated by the US programme of assistance to Colombia’s armed forces (Plan Colombia). The assessment should identify corruption risks and manifestations affecting Plan activities, considering risk and manifestations within the programme itself as well as its interactions with the recipient government and defence forces. Case study material should form a basis for lessons identified and good practice-based recommendations.

The case study will form part of a larger project, the ‘Interventions Integrity Toolkit’. The malign impact of corruption on operations and security assistance is increasingly being recognised in civilian and military circle; recognition, however, needs to be followed up with practical recommendations to allow military personnel to implement concrete measures. TI has therefore begun work on an ‘interventions integrity toolkit’, to provide analysis and recommendations for strategic and operational planners, implementers, and monitoring personnel involved in security assistance and military operations. It will comprise four elements:

  • UNDERSTAND: case studies explaining the links between corruption and interventions;
  • ANALYSE: analysis illustrating the impact of corruption on mission goals and at tactical, operational and strategic levels;
  • REVIEW: recommendations for mission planning and implementation;
  • APPLY: a repository of scenarios applicable to exercises, including UN and NATO training.

The purpose of this case study is to explore the links between corruption and security assistance, including the ways in which corruption can diminish the effectiveness of security assistance in building effective security forces and, if shown by the material, the role that assistance can play in reinforcing or mitigating corrupt practices. Colombia has been one of the largest recipients of US military and civilian aid, with over $10bn underpinning Plan Colombia since 2000. The researcher is expected to approach the case study with an open mind, prepared to identify key corruption risks as well as lessons learned and good practice as and when supported by available evidence.

Case study: desired output, research methodology, reporting

The output foreseen for this case study is a 10-15-page brief addressing the following:

  • Corruption risks and manifestations affecting Plan Colombia, both within Colombia and the programme itself
  • Any mitigation or exacerbation of corruption risks in Colombian armed forces linked to Plan Colombia
  • Lessons identified and good practice.

The researcher is expected to refine the methodology and sources, but at the least, the case study should be based on a mixture of literature review and interviews with stakeholders involved in Plan Colombia both in Colombia and the US. Interviewees are likely to involve members of Colombian armed forces, the US Southern Command, and Departments of State and Defense. The researcher will be required to identify relevant interlocutors depending on the functions they performed in 2000-2016, and to make contact with them.

The research will be overseen by the TI-DS Brussels-based Research and Policy Manager, with weekly progress reports. The researcher will also need to interact with the peer reviewer appointed for the case study, and to incorporate comments and suggestions made by the peer reviewer if required. If necessary, this will be paid additionally and the amount of time needed will be agreed in advance.

The researcher will likely need to travel to Colombia and/or the US. TI-DS will cover the cost of overseas travel if required, subject to receipts being provided. The researcher will be expected to abide by TI-UK regulations regarding travel, accommodation, and meal reimbursement, including travelling economy and choosing best-value accommodation.

Qualifications and experience:


  • Fluency in Spanish sufficient to read sources and conduct interviews
  • Proven expertise on Colombian armed forces and security policy
  • Proven expertise in corruption and governance issues, especially in the defence and security sector
  • Familiarity with Plan Colombia
  • Excellent analytical and drafting skills
  • A Masters degree (or equivalent) in political science, international relations, journalism, social studies, or other relevant fields.


  • Experience carrying out similar projects
  • On-the-ground experience in Colombia
  • Preparedness to travel overseas in 2017/early 2018

How to apply:

Please send a CV and a writing sample in English (no less than 3 and no more than 5 pages), in one PDF file, to jobs@transparency.org.uk by 1200 GMT on 2 October 2017. Please note that due to the large volume of applications we receive, only those shortlisted will be contacted. If you haven’t heard from us three weeks after the deadline, please assume your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Thank you for your interest – we look forward to seeing your application.