Internship Programme

Are you a recent graduate or enrolled in a graduate programme? Are you interested in making a difference in environmental research and policy? Do you have a commitment towards addressing issues of international importance related to water, environment and health? If so, then the Internship Programme at UNU-INWEH could be a perfect opportunity for you!

Our interns have come from across the globe. UNU-INWEH provides interns a chance to work in an international environment and experience first-hand the operations of the United Nations. In this volunteer programme, interns interact with staff members of diverse nationalities and contribute towards UN water research and training projects conducted in developing countries. If you think that the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme could be your next step, please find out if you meet the eligibility requirements (below) and submit an application for an advertised vacancy announcement.

Interns are recruited through a competitive application process through specific vacancy announcements (listed on the vacancies page). All interns are required to make a 3-month (minimum) to 6-month (maximum) full-time commitment. Part-time applications may be considered under exceptional conditions.

There are no current vacancies advertised. 

Visit the Water Learning Centre for online learning opportunities.

Note: You may only intern once for the UNU Internship Programme to give as many students as possible the opportunity to gain exposure to research work.

  • Academic Qualifications:
    • Be enrolled in, or have recently completed within two (2) years, the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum bachelor’s level or equivalent); or
    • Be enrolled in, or have recently completed within two (2) years, a graduate (second university degree or equivalent) or postgraduate degree programme (master’s or doctoral level).
  • Fields of Interest: in an area relevant to UNU-INWEH’s field of work or as specified in vacancy.
  • Family relationships: An applicant who is a child, sibling, spouse, or recognised partner of a UNU personnel is not eligible to apply for an internship at the same UNU institute of that UNU personnel. An applicant who bears any other family relationship with a UNU personnel may be engaged as an intern, provided that the intern is neither assigned to the same unit as such personnel nor placed under the direct or indirect supervision of such personnel.
  • Languages: excellent spoken and written English; knowledge of other UN languages is an asset. See the Application section of the FAQ page for requirements concerning language certification.
  • Attitude: awareness and ability to adapt to a multicultural environment and a commitment to international public service are essential. Applicants should demonstrate good communication skills and show initiative and flexibility.
  • Availability: the duration of an internship is a minimum of three months (full-time).
  • Insurance: all applications must provide proof of health and life/accident insurance coverage for the entire period of their internship and valid for the location (Hamilton, Canada). NOTE: ONLY applicable for on-site internships.
  • Applicants should apply to the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme only if they fulfill the minimum criteria and qualifications.

The selection will take into consideration academic achievements and research accomplishments, two letters of recommendation, and your statement of purpose. Further documents may be requested only if shortlisted. See FAQs for further information.

Interns are normally expected to work on-site on a full time basis and will be provided office space and facilities as appropriate for their work. Under exceptional (extraordinary) conditions (e.g. when specified in Vacancy or appropriate working rights to undertake the internship remotely) the internship may be undertaken remotely. Interns working remotely must have access to a personal laptop or desktop with basic functionalities and internet for the duration of their in-/externship.

Interns who are not in receipt of financial support (please indicate on application form; 15 c & d) for the purpose of this internship from other sources such as universities or other institutions may be eligible for a stipend from UNU-INWEH to partially subsidize basic daily expenses such as meals, transportation, and internet costs for the duration of the internship.

The monthly amount of the stipend will be determined according to the location of the intern based on the stipend rates in effect.

Interns will be awarded a certificate at the successful completion of their internship. See FAQs Section 3 and 4 for details on the Terms and Conditions.

Interns are recruited through a competitive application process through specific vacancy announcements (listed on our vacancies page). Internships require a 3-month (minimum) to 6-month (maximum) full-time commitment.

Note: You may only intern once for the UNU Internship Programme to give as many students as possible the opportunity to gain exposure to research work.

To apply to the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme, complete the following steps:

  1. Ensure you satisfy the Eligibility Criteria.
  2. Fill out all five of the required application documents.
  3. Submit application online and upload all required documents as instructed in the vacancy under the heading “How to Apply”.
  • Only complete applications (i.e., containing all five required documents) will be considered.
  • Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.


(1) A Completed Application Form: Download (PDF)

(2) A Cover Letter that Includes:

  1. A brief statement of purpose.
  2. Why you think an internship would be a valuable opportunity.
  3. Any specific skills/experience that relate to one of our programmes/projects.
  4. The letter should be written in English (1 page max.).

(3) A Copy of Your University Transcript:

  • Undergraduate or Graduate transcript. Unofficial is acceptable.

(4) For Non-Native English Speakers, a Copy of Your English Language Certification

  • (E.g., TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC); not required if the applicant has completed undergraduate and/or graduate studies with English as the medium of instruction. See FAQs Section 2 for further information on language certification.

(5) Confirmation of Family Relationship downloadable from the UNU-INWEH website

PLEASE NOTE (only applicable when contacted for interview and when offered an internship):

  1. Document(s) for Proof of enrollment or graduation; downloadable from the UNU-INWEH website
  2. Proof of health and life/accident insurance valid for the location in which the internship will be carried out, and for the full duration of the internship. Selected intern must have health and life insurance.
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation will be collected from your references as specified in application form (#17).

For frequently asked questions about the UNU-INWEH Internship Programme, please visit our FAQs page.


My internship with UNU-INWEH was one of my important milestones in my career life. After my undergrad degree in environmental engineering, pursuing master’s in development practice at University of Waterloo, I intended to specialize in water governance by taking multiple courses. Finally, I got the opportunity of the internship and managed to get more expertise in water security with Professor Nidhi Nagabhatla which confirmed my three years planned specialization. Another big milestone in my internship that I managed to write my first scientific paper in my academic career which was my project during the internship period, which I believed that was an astonishing experience for me.

– Mahmoud Abdelhay Radwan, Intern, 2019

The internship programme at UNU-INWEH presents the opportunity to gain work experience within a renowned research institute, providing a good working environment, freedom and support for professional and academic development.

– Edward Jones, 2018 Intern Intern

Being part of a highly reputable organisation like UNU presented an excellent opportunity for gaining new knowledge and experience on an important development field –water security and finance. The learning enhanced my knowledge goal setting, career planning and overall professional development. It has also helped in setting priorities and managing multiple tasks and responsibilities. The internship tenure at UNU-INWEH also deepened my aim work in The United Nations system or another international organisation with complimenting mandate, particularly in the avenue of green technologies, sustainable business and development models. (Read the full testimonial here).

– Nuha Elgindi, 2018 Intern

The internship at UNU-INWEH enhanced my professional skills and shifted my understanding about conventional water sources. I think that unconventional water resources could contribute to move faster towards the achievement of SDG 6: safe water and sanitation for all by 2030.

– Gabriela Jimenez, 2017 Intern

Conducting an internship at the UNU-INWEH helped me realize what I appreciate in good organizations that are trying to change the world by improving the human condition.

– Reza Ali, 2016 Intern

My internship at UNU-INWEH provided me with an invaluable experience that helped me develop my professional and research skills in an incredibly welcoming work environment.

– Talia Glickman, Intern, 2019

This internship provided me with the opportunity to work in the field I am passionate about and to connect with great people along the way.

– Yurissa Varela, 2018 Intern

The internship programme at UNU-INWEH offers a good opportunity to get some first work experience working for an international organization. Especially if you are interested in research on water issues ranging from hydrology to water driven migration, the internship programme is a good start to your future career.

-Jana Gheuens, 2018 Intern

It has been a wonderful experience working at UNU-INWEH with highly professional team. This internship has provided me an opportunity to work on global water related issues and to conduct water policies and strategies. My supervisor was so supportive all the time. This internship will definitely help me with my profession in future.

– Syed Zaigham Kazmi, 2017 Intern

The UNU-INWEH internship programme is life changing! 

– Jacintah Mwachiro, 2017 Intern

It has been a phenomenal experience to join such a prominent organization like UNU-INWEH. I had the chance to speak with various specialists about their work, and assist with the co-authorship of a book Chapter for Nature Based Solutions. As a PhD scholar it was a challenging and transformative experience for me, I would encourage any student to learn more about this incredible internship opportunity.

– Cecilia Soto Rios, 2017 Intern

My time at UNU-INWEH provided me with the opportunity to apply my scientific background to a project in the real world. Within the Water and Ecosystems Programme, I learned how ecosystem services, policy and socio-economy are related and how they depend on each other. I especially liked the opportunity to set up my own project and to present this research to a multidisciplinary audience at the WatIF 2016 conference in Kingston.

– Catherine, 2016 Intern

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