At IIED, we see internships as a mutually positive experience. Interns bring different skills and ideas into the organisation. IIED provides work experience in sustainable development and an opportunity to become familiar with the type of work and activities associated with an international career in this field, such as influencing policy, action-research, networking and advocacy.

Due to the size of the institute, we only take a limited number of interns per year and, in order to open opportunities to the entire community, we do not offer unpaid voluntary positions.

Intern positions may become available not only for our research programmes (Climate ChangeHuman SettlementsNatural Resources, and Shaping Sustainable Markets) but also for our Communications, Strategy and Learning and Human Resources groups, as well as with the Green Economy Coalition, whose secretariat is currently based at IIED.

IIED welcomes applicants with a variety of backgrounds internationally, although in general applicants will need to prove they have a current right to work in the UK to be considered.

We have collected some experiences and stories from our past interns to give you a flavour of what you can expect from an internship at IIED. Read Tony Stonehouse's experience of interning at IIED and a blog by Dugald Macdonald on his experiences of being a Richard Sandbrook scholar at IIED.

Paid internship positions: how to apply, who should apply

When paid intern positions are available they will be advertised on the jobs page of our website. Applicants are required to follow the application instruction on the advertisement. We do not accept speculative applications.

We work in partnership with Step, which supports our internship programme. Candidates who are eligible to work in the UK without the requirement for visa sponsorship can be engaged on a contract for services via Step.

Unpaid internship positions: how to apply, who should apply

IIED has a number of formal arrangements with other organisations for internship positions, which include King's College London (KCL) and Strathclyde University. Application details are supplied by these respective organisations to those who are eligible (such as people on relevant masters' courses at these institutions).

General information

We aim to meet the principles of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) voluntary code of practice – The Internship Charter.

Interns are selected through a competitive process. They are expected to work full-time or part-time depending on their assignment and availability. They may work partly in the office and partly outside. The types of tasks cover all aspects of IIED work from clerical tasks right through to research assistance. Interns may be asked to complete routine tasks as well as contribute to the implementation of one or more specific projects. 

All interns are encouraged to take part in organisation-wide activities and discussions to make the most of their experience with IIED. The duration of an assignment is between 8 and 12 weeks.

Work experience

IIED does not offer work experience placements to people under 18 years of age. The only exception is an institutional arrangement with Haverstock Hill School, whereby we offer work experience to pupils. This local partnership forms part of our responsible operations policy. If you are over 18, please refer to the text on internships.

Further reading