Council for At-Risk Academics — Trustees

Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara) is seeking to appoint up to three new Trustees to its governing Council. Candidates will bring a passion for its mission and ideally senior-level expertise across one or more of the following areas: fundraising, marketing, international affairs or finance & audit. However, candidates who feel they can contribute more broadly to the organisation beyond those categories are also encouraged to engage with the role. (Deadline: 21 November)

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Cara (the Council for At-Risk Academics) is an organisation committed to helping at-risk academics faced with circumstances of violence and persecution. Cara does this through providing urgently-needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile, and many who choose to continue work on in their home countries despite serious risks, while also supporting higher education institutions whose work is at risk or compromised.

All around the world, people start their academic careers with high hopes of learning, and of using their new knowledge to help others. For some, however, those dreams turn to nightmares, because of persecution, violence and conflict. Every year, Cara receives hundreds of requests for help from desperate academics, in immediate danger of arrest, injury or even death.

In partnership with universities and research institutes, learned societies and other like-minded organisations, as well as many academics and other individuals, Cara offers practical and financial help, and assistance to reach a place where they can continue their work in safety with their families. In these ways Cara helps both individuals and learning and scholarship more broadly.

Cara also operates groundbreaking regional programmes to help those trying to work on in their countries, despite the risks, and those forced into exile in the surrounding region. The support of the 135 universities and research institutes that make up our UK Universities and Research Network is central to the effective delivery of Cara’s work. Cara also develops relationships with a growing number of universities abroad, in Europe and beyond.

The organisation works within a nuanced understanding of the international and political complexities of supporting academics in countries or cultures which are under immense stress or oppression. Cara is at an exciting moment of transition involving new funding partnerships and collaboration, which will significantly expand the reach and subsequent impact of its work. 

Role specification

Cara is seeking to appoint up to three new Trustees with a strong alignment with its vision and mission who, in addition to formal Council meetings, will be willing to undertake informal engagement with the charity and its executive team.

Responsibilities of the Trustee may include:

  • Contributing to the Council’s collective role in setting the charity’s strategic direction and providing effective oversight of its administration, operation and governance
  • Ensuring that the charity uses its resources in line with its charitable objects
  • Carrying out the core responsibilities of charity governance as charity directors, as set out in Charity Commission Guidance and the Charity Governance Code
  • Safeguarding the reputation and values of the charity and have an active concern for diversity and inclusion, and a commitment to increasing the impact of the charity
  • Acting as an ambassador for the charity and using its networks to promote its work
  • Attending and engaging in training and events as required

The Council has oversight of the charity, makes key decisions to help steer the strategic direction, ensures best use of valuable resources, and supports the staff team to meet the organisation’s ambitious growth goals.

Person specification

The successful candidates will ideally bring one of the following professional backgrounds: fundraising, marketing, international affairs or finance & audit. However, those who bring expertise beyond those categories, who seek to add overall value to the organisation, would also be welcome to engage with the role. Ultimately, passion for Cara's work, and the desire to make a difference will be defining factors of the successful candidates. 

The Board is open to applications from candidates without previous non-executive experience, as long as they understand the difference between executive and non-executive engagement.

The ideal candidates will specialise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Fundraising: individuals will have broad fundraising expertise in a senior charities fundraising role. Experience of building up institutional income streams in a smaller charity is desirable, or experience in a complex, global organisation would also be of interest. Candidates will act as a close advisor to the executive team in order to provide guidance on current and future fundraising strategy
  • Marketing: individuals could bring a broad-range of marketing experience to the role, with particular interest in modern digital marketing and understanding of social media advocacy / campaigns
  • Charity: candidates will have a background working for a not-for-profit at the executive or non-executive level. Ideally, individuals will bring deep knowledge and expertise of charity administration and governance
  • International Affairs: candidates will bring senior-level expertise in international affairs. This knowledge could have been gained in a variety of contexts including: academia, government, not-for-profit, international development organisations, or think tanks. Individuals with specialist knowledge of refugee or migration issues or regional knowledge relevant to Cara's work would be particularly strong
  • Finance and Audit: candidates will bring either one of two profiles: a highly commercial business leader who can provide insights into business strategy OR a qualified accountant who has a proven track record in strategic and financial management, analysis, and planning, and/or audit, and risk & assurance. Candidates will bring the ability to be a critical friend and sounding board for the executive team on financial management

The organisation is looking for enthusiastic, engaged and collaborative individuals looking to make a distinctive contribution to the continued success of Cara. 

Board composition

Professor Alan McCarthy, Chair
Dame Nicola Dandridge DBE, Honorary Secretary
Mr S J K (Zac) Barratt, Honorary Treasurer
Professor Vince Emery
Dr Joanna Newman MBE
Dr Cornelia Sorabji CBE
Ms Vivienne Stern MBE
Professor Paul Weindling

You can learn more about the Council here.

Terms of appointment

This role is unremunerated, but reasonable, pre-agreed travel expenses within the UK will be reimbursed. The expected time commitment is the equivalent of between five and seven days a year which includes: two 2.5-hour Council meetings, three 2-hour committee meetings and ad-hoc engagement. 


Council meetings usually take place in central London, at the Cara offices at South Bank University, with the option to attend meetings virtually on occasions. Candidates can be based in the UK or internationally. 


Cara is committed to increasing the diversity of our Council, and would particularly welcome applications from underrepresented groups so that our Council membership is more reflective of the communities that we serve.

The deadline for consideration is 21 November 2023.

If you would like to register your initial interest in this role, please fill in the form below.

Please note that registering your interest via this microsite does not constitute a formal application for the role. If it would be worth submitting an application, a member of the Nurole team will be directly in touch ahead of the deadline to let you know and invite you to apply through the Nurole platform.