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2015 Internships at Center for Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and The Earth Institute, is accepting applications for internship positions for the spring 2015 and summer 2015 semesters. Interns are staffed to one or more specific research projects depending on the background and interests of the particular applicant. Internships are generally unpaid, though some paid opportunities are available, as described below. Select work-study administrative positions are also available, and course credit can be granted in some cases.

CCSI photo for postCCSI is a leading applied research center and forum dedicated to the study, practice and discussion of sustainable international investment. Our mission is to develop and disseminate practical approaches and solutions to maximize the impact of international investment for sustainable development. The center’s work is organized around three major areas of research: sustainable investments in extractive industries, sustainable investments in land and agriculture, and sustainable international investment law and policy.

Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week, but more hours are possible. For the summer 2015, preference is given to students looking for full-time positions. In both cases, continuation into subsequent terms is possible, and in some cases, preferred.

Spring 2015 Internship opportunities are currently available for the following research projects:

Research on natural resource funds and resource revenue management
CCSI is looking for a graduate student with an economics (and ideally legal) background to assist CCSI and its partner, the National Resource Governance Institute, to expand its worldwide survey of natural resource funds by looking at fund management, investments, transparency and accountability to the public, as well as the fiscal rules that govern them. More information on this project is available here.

CCSI extract photo for postProfiling worldwide legal frameworks for “local content” in oil, gas and mining
CCSI is seeking a law student to expand a legal survey of the local content frameworks in a number of resource-rich developing countries. The student will identify the key laws and regulations, contracts and non-binding policies governing local content issues in the mining and petroleum sectors for a particular country. More information on this project is available here.

Research on pipeline infrastructure
CCSI has done extensive research on how mining related railway, port, power, water, and information and communication technology investments can be designed in order to promote shared use with other mining investors and third parties. CCSI is seeking a graduate student to extend this research stream to pipeline infrastructure by looking at case studies where pipelines are shared among companies, and assessing the regulatory and operational framework that is necessary to enhance shared use. More information on CCSI’s ongoing work on extractive industry related infrastructure is available here.

Framework for the use of associated gas
CCSI is working to develop a regulatory and operational framework that would unlock the value of the associated petroleum gas that is currently wasted, in order to improve energy efficiency, expand access to energy, and contribute to climate change mitigation, thus promoting sustainable development. CCSI has already developed a number of case studies that give much insight on this topic. The purpose of this internship would be to wrap up those case studies and develop the framework. CCSI is looking for interns with experience in the petroleum industry. More information on the project and the case studies is available here.

International investment law and policy and student editors for Yearbook on Investment Law and Policy
CCSI works on a number of projects relating to international investment treaties and treaty-based investor-state arbitration and is seeking student interns to assist on a variety of tasks, including joining our student editorial board responsible for helping finalize the Yearbook on Investment Law and Policy, which is published by Oxford University Press. Credit may be available.


Contract analysis and contract transparency: providing tools to access and assess contracts for large-scale investment in extractives and land
CCSI seeks a law student to assist the center and its partners, the World Bank and Natural Resource Governance Institute, in expanding and, two online, searchable and user-friendly databases of publicly available oil, gas, mining, commercial agriculture and forestry contracts from around the world. This paid legal internship will primarily involve helping to annotate key provisions of contracts, and may also include providing research support on contract transparency and disclosure more generally. Preference will be given to students available for more than one semester or interested in continuing this work over the summer. Preference also for students who speak French, Spanish and/or Portuguese. More information about the project is available here.

The mine of the future and its impact on local employment/procurement policy
The mining sector is undergoing a technological revolution whereby an increasing number of tasks are being mechanized. The mine of the future is therefore likely to employ significantly less people and procure its equipment from technologically advanced countries. Yet, there has been an increasing focus by policymakers in resource rich countries to capture the positive spillovers from mining investments through local employment and procurement requirements. Are these two developments compatible?  What are the characteristics and what is the likely time frame of the technological revolution? What are the likely impacts on local employment and local procurement? How should policymakers of resource rich countries respond in order for their countries to reap the rewards and minimize the costs associated with this technological disruption?  CCSI is looking for a student with an engineering background to assess the technology revolution in the mining sector over the past years and likely development going forward. Experience in the mining sector is preferred but not required.

Mining & water risk assessment
Mining projects require access to water. With increased water scarcity, the number of conflicts with local communities around access and quality of water has been on the rise, and this upward trend is likely to continue. In order for institutional investors to better understand and assess the portfolio and mine-specific risks associated with water, CCSI is a) compiling data on and conducting a comparative review of the legal and regulatory frameworks governing water access and use by the mining sector in various countries, as well as on relevant case law and regulatory actions regarding the breach by a mining company of relevant water/ environmental legislation, or the contamination of underground or surface bodies of water from mining during the mine life and post mine-closure; and b) developing a database with performance indicators that assess water mining risks. This is part of a broader project with the Columbia Water Center and is funded by Norges Bank Investment Management. CCSI seeks two graduate students for this project:

  • a graduate student who will populate the database with all existing water performance indicators prepared by ratings agencies, financial institutions, academia, development organizations and other groups that are relevant.
  • a legal graduate student to assist with legal research in relation to the use and discharge of water in the copper and gold mining sectors in three country groups: Canada, USA and Australia (Group 1), South Africa, Brazil, Peru and Chile (Group 2) and China (Group 3).


Administrative support
CCSI seeks an administrative/operations support intern with work-study eligibility. The work-study position primarily will entail helping with business tasks related to the functioning of the center, including preparation of expense reports and invoices, management of website and mailing list, coordination of travel and accommodations for CCSI staff members and guests, and other similar responsibilities. CCSI also seeks support with editing and formatting center publications and other documents. Prior administrative experience is a plus, but not required. Preference will be given to responsible, detail-oriented undergrad or grad students. Those with long-term availability are preferred.

Summer 2015 Internship opportunities will be available in each of the three workstreams: investment law and policy; extractive industries and sustainable development; sustainable investment in land and agriculture.

To apply, send a cover letter, CV and writing sample to CCSI’s executive coordinator, Nancy Siporin (, by Jan. 10, 2015, for spring Internships and by March 10, 2015, for summer Internships, although candidates for summer Internships will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning in January. Please indicate in your cover letter if you are interested in being assigned to one of the specific research projects or work streams and we will endeavor to accommodate such requests.

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