State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Internships Available at Center on Sustainable Investment

CCSI webpage snipThe Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute, is accepting applications until March 31 for internship positions for summer 2016.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Interns are assigned to one or more projects depending on background and interests; unpaid and paid opportunities are available, as described below. Select work-study administrative positions are also available, and course credit can be granted in some cases.

The center 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.

All positions listed below are full-time (preferred) unless otherwise noted. Continuation into subsequent terms is possible, and in some cases, preferred.

To apply, send a cover letter, CV and writing sample to the center’s executive coordinator, Nancy Siporin (, unless otherwise specified, by March 31. If you are applying for a paid internship, indicate if you are work-study eligible (preferred but not required). Indicate in your cover letter if you are interested in being assigned to one of the specific research projects or areas of research and we will endeavor to accommodate such requests wherever possible.

Summer internships are currently available for the following:

CCSI photo for postUnpaid internship: Sustainable investments in agriculture, and investment and human rights
A student intern will assist with research, writing and other activities relating to various projects within the center’s sustainable investments in land and agriculture focus area, as well as on the topic of investment and human rights. Work will be tailored to the intern’s interests and experience, and the intern will work closely with center legal researchers. Preference will be given to applicants with strong research and writing skills who are law students or who have significant legal experience.

Unpaid internship: Profiling worldwide legal frameworks for “Local Content” in oil, gas and mining
The center seeks a law student to help 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.

Unpaid internship: Research on natural resource funds and resource revenue management
The center is looking for a graduate student with an economics (and ideally legal) background to assist the center and its partner, the National Resource Governance Institute to update and expand its world-wide survey of natural resource funds, looking at management, investments, transparency and accountability to the public, as well as the fiscal rules that govern these funds. French and Spanish skills are preferred. More information on this project is available here.

CCSI extract photo for postUnpaid internship: Linkages to extractive industries
Graduate student interns will assist with various projects related to economic linkages to the extractive industry sector. For more information on the linkages, see our project description of downstream linkages here, upstream linkages here and knowledge linkages here.

Unpaid internship: Fossil fuel companies and climate change
The intern will support various ongoing activities and research related to the center’s fossil fuel companies and climate change project. The issue of divestment from fossil fuels is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for university endowment boards, socially responsible investors and the fossil fuel industry itself. The center has been exploring what strategies fossil fuel companies have embraced in order to address climate change concerns, and has been researching what responsible investors could request from fossil fuel companies in order to move toward a decarbonized economy more quickly by assessing the success of past shareholder resolutions. More information on this project is available here.

Unpaid internship: Competitive bidding
The center is identifying and reviewing the legislative frameworks governing competitive bidding regimes in a range of resource-rich countries to prepare a comparative overview and analysis of the requirements. The center seeks a legal intern to conduct this research. See more here.

Unpaid internship: Special purpose vehicles and liabilities
Special purpose vehicles are often used in capital intensive projects to limit the investor’s liability and exposure to project risks as well as to attract financing. There are, however, concerns that the use of these vehicles can lead to a dilution of responsibilities and limit investor accountability. The center is looking for a legal intern to map out the various legal structures of special purpose vehicles and their costs and benefits, and to identify models that are mutually beneficial for investors, governments and other affected stakeholders.

Unpaid internship : Capital gains tax
Many resource rich countries are grappling with the imposition of capital gains tax. What are the different regulatory models to approach the issue? The center is looking for a legal intern, with preferably knowledge or experience with fiscality to research into this question. For more information, see here.

Unpaid internship: International investment law and policy
The center works on a number of projects relating to international investment treaties and treaty-based investor-state arbitration and seeks student interns to assist on a variety of tasks for this workstream. Students should be presently enrolled in law school. Familiarity with international investment law is desirable, but is not required.

Amapa lumber yard DFPaid internship: Contract analysis and contract transparency: providing tools to access and assess contracts for large-scale investment in extractives and land
The center seeks law students 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 focus on annotating key contractual terms and providing other research and technical support on contract transparency and disclosure. Preference will be given to students who have experience working with complex contracts, or with one or more of the following language skills: Spanish, Portuguese or French. More information about the project is available here.

Paid internship: Administrative assistant (for students with work study eligibility)
The center seeks an undergraduate or graduate work-study student to assist with a variety of administrative and operational tasks (15-20 hours a week minimum). The work-study position primarily will entail helping with administrative tasks related to event planning and the day-to-day operational functioning of the center (e.g., drafting administrative forms, managing website and tracking website activity, preparing newsletters and other mailings, assisting with event preparation, etc.). The intern will also be expected to assist with editing and formatting center publications, preparing expense reports and invoices, and coordinating travel and accommodations for staff members and guests. Prior administrative experience a plus, but not required. Attention to detail is a must. Those with long-term availability are preferred. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to the center’s associate director of operations, Paulo Cunha (

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