State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Fall 2020 Remote Internships With the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute, is accepting applications until September 15 for remote internship positions for the Fall 2020 semester. Interns are staffed to one or more specific research projects depending on the background and interests of the particular applicant. Select work-study administrative positions are also available, and course credit can be granted in some cases.

CCSI 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, with cross-cutting research related to climate change and human rights.

Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week, unless otherwise noted. Continuation into subsequent terms is possible, and in some cases, preferred.

To apply for a Fall 2020 internship, please send a cover letter, CV, and writing sample (all together in a single file, in that order), by September 15 to CCSI’s executive coordinator, Nancy Siporin (, unless otherwise specified. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Please indicate if you are work-study eligible (preferred but not required). The cover letter should include a distinct list of which internships you are applying for (you may include as many as you’d like).

Remote Fall 2020 internship opportunities are currently available for the following:

Paid Internship: Responsible and Rights-respecting Land Investments

CCSI seeks a JD, LLM, or other graduate student (or a motivated and high-performing undergraduate student) to support the center’s research and advisory work on responsible and rights-respecting land-based investments. The internship will involve working closely with senior staff on priority projects requiring research, analysis, and writing. These projects may include monitoring and responding to emerging risks in land-based investments due to COVID-19; and supporting the development of innovative responses and resources addressing key challenges for communities, governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders. Preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills. Knowledge or experience of issues relating to responsible land-based investment, land rights, government policymaking related to investments, and/or community rights in the context of resource investments is desirable.

Paid Internship: Incentivizing and Promoting Responsible Investment in Agriculture

CCSI seeks a graduate student to support work on incentivizing and promoting responsible investment in agriculture. A primary focus of the internship will be to conduct research and provide support in the preparation of a UN technical guide on investment incentives. The guide will aim to support policy makers in designing, implementing, and monitoring incentives (including but not limited to tax incentives) that support responsible agricultural investment and contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers, including the head of Land and Agriculture. Preference will be given to students with strong research skills. Familiarity with incentives, agricultural investments, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and/or responsible investment guidance is a plus. Time commitment: 8-15 hours per week for one semester.

Internship (Paid or for Credit): Aligning the Food Sector to the Sustainable Development Goals

CCSI seeks a graduate student to support its work on aligning the food sector with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This work will include conducting research and analysis related to the various ways through which businesses, particularly in the food sector, can achieve the SDGs. The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers, including the head of Land and Agriculture. Preference will be given to students with strong research and writing skills. Familiarity with the food sector is a plus. This internship can be done for class credit or as a paid internship.

Paid Internship: Advisory on Decarbonization

CCSI is seeking a highly motivated and detail-oriented SIPA/CBS/Engineering school graduate student with strong experience in developing energy policy to assist on several advisory projects helping countries in their planning for decarbonization. The candidate should understand the challenges of the transition of an energy system and be able to articulate practical recommendations. The candidate should also have quantitative and analytical skills. Preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills, experience working with legal documents and the energy sector, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to climate policy and energy/extractive industries.

Paid Internship: Legal Research on Mining and Petroleum Contracts

CCSI is seeking LLM or JD student interns to assist with legal research, writing, and other activities using, an online repository of oil, gas, and mining contracts. This paid legal internship will focus on identifying key contractual terms in mining and petroleum contracts and providing related research and writing support. Preference will be given to candidates with strong legal research and writing skills, experience working with complex contracts, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to extractive industries. The ability to read French and/or Portuguese is required for this position.

Paid Internship: Administrative Assistant, (Students with work study eligibility strongly preferred)

CCSI is seeking a highly motivated, organized, and detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate student intern to help with the administration of CCSI’s transparency tool: The intern will assist with the management of certain administrative tasks associated with the website, which aims to empower communities, civil society organizations, host governments and other actors to better understand the details of deals surrounding agriculture, forestry, renewable energy and other land-based investment projects in the global south. Strong preference will be given to candidates native or fluent in French. Work study allocations are an asset but not required.

Paid Internship: Operations Assistant, CCSI Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture (Students with work study eligibility and French language strongly preferred)

Over the past several years, CCSI has trained over 100 policy-makers and practitioners from around the world at annual Executive Trainings. CCSI is seeking an undergraduate or graduate student intern to provide operational and administrative support for a training taking place in a Francophone country, and potentially to provide similar support for additional trainings as needed. The intern will primarily be responsible for assisting with administrative, logistical and operational aspects of the training, including through communicating updates and liaising with speakers, participants, translators and interpreters, assisting with preparation and distribution of materials, and assisting with the operation of remote video software.

The ideal candidate will have some administrative experience or interest; good organizational, analytical, and project management skills; advanced level French language, and an interest in sustainable investment or sustainable development. They will also have a strong work ethic, attention to detail, strong communication and writing skills and work well within a team structure.

Paid Internship: Operations Assistant (work study)

CCSI is seeking an undergraduate or graduate work-study student to assist with a variety of substantive operational tasks. The work-study position primarily will entail helping with business and administrative tasks related to the operational functioning of the center, with an opportunity to specialize in one of several areas including business operations, editing, communications, events or workstream support, assisting one of the three CCSI workstreams in Extractive Industries, Land and Agriculture or Investment Law Policy. Preference will be given to responsible, detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate students. Those with long-term availability are preferred. To apply for this operations assistant position, please send a cover letter and resume to CCSI’s director of operations, Paulo Cunha (

For more information on internship opportunities and how to apply, please see the CCSI website.

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