Embedded Learning Experience (ELE) Programme

The ELE Programme is closed as of 2021. Please see the current UNU-INWEH training opportunities here.

Are you a young professional, preferably under 30 and interested in international development research and policy? Are you interested in global issues of water, environment and health? If so, UNU-INWEH’s Embedded Learning Experience programme may be for you. Designed specifically for young professionals, it aims to equip young scholars to be the water leaders of the future – to drive change in how water is managed and governed.

Through ELE, scholars who are enrolled in a graduate programme of an accredited university are able to gain practical experience working in the UN system. Participants work as part of the UNU-INWEH team, assisting programme coordinators on live projects such as Innovative Wastewater Management & Reuse and Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals. This gives unique professional experience in the management of UNU-INWEH research programmes, helping gain expertise that is not typically offered in an academic setting.

How can young people participate in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals?

How can they drive the sustainable development and transformational change agenda? As part of ELE, scholars will gain valuable insight and professional experience through hand’s on work and mentoring by senior UNU-INWEH researchers. This goal is for them to become champions, encouraging other young people’s involvement in contributing to the global development agenda.

– Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla, ELE programme coordinator

Our ELE scholars currently come from Canada and South Korea. We are expanding to welcome scholars from other countries. As a part of the programme, ELE scholars help deliver UNU-INWHEH research activities that are in action in developing countries.

If you think that the UNU-INWEH ELE Programme can help you achieve your career goals, please contact us and submit your ELE application. We will be pleased to explain more and discuss options with you.

There are no more advertised vacancies. Open applications are welcomed.

  • Academic Qualifications & Fields of Interest: The candidate should be registered in a bachelor’s degree programme or equivalent degree programme in an area relevant to UNU-INWEH’s field of work.
  • Skills and expertise: Good knowledge of spoken and written English; knowledge of other UN languages is an asset; good communication skills, initiative and flexibility; eager to learn, comfortable working in a multicultural setting; a commitment to international public service; good knowledge of Microsoft Office and related tools.
  • The ELE programme assignments are for minimum one month
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage for the entire period of the programme is required.
  • All applicants should organize a letter of recommendation and a cover letter along with the application form. Further documents may be requested only if shortlisted.

An ELE scholar is placed for a tenure of one month (minimum) to up to a year (maximum) full-time or part-time commitment.

To apply to the UNU-INWEH’s ELE Programme, complete the following steps:

  • Ensure you satisfy the Eligibility Criteria.
  • Fill out the required application documents.
  • Email or fax your application to the UNU-INWEH ELE Coordinator.

Please note:
Only complete applications will be considered.
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
Your internship application will be considered valid for 3 months from the submission date.
If applicants do not receive a response within 3 months of submission, the application has not been retained.

  1. A Completed Application Form: Download (MS Word) or (PDF)
  2. A Cover Letter that Includes:
        • A brief statement of purpose.
        • Why you think an ELE programme would be a valuable opportunity.
        • A note on your expectations for the programme.
        • The letter should be written in English (1-page max.).
        • The letter should be addressed to the UNU-INWEH ELE programme Coordinator.
  3. A Copy of Your University Transcript:

Undergraduate or Graduate transcript. Unofficial is acceptable.

Email your application to: intern.at.inweh@unu.edu
Subject Line: ELE Programme Application

  1. Two Letters of Recommendation:

Signed scanned copies sent by your two referees directly to: intern.at.inweh@unu.edu
(Subject Line: “REFERENCE LETTER = INTERNSHIP = Candidate’s Last Name and First Name”)
(Cover Page Subject Line: “INTERNSHIP APPLICATION, Candidate’s Last Name and First Name”)


The ELE programme was a unique and great experience for me and I believe very few students could have an experience like this. It was my first time working in a professional and business-like environment. I was able to do research in areas which were new to me. It was also an honour to work with my supervisors, and the meetings with them and with the other trainees were great opportunities to learn new things. These two months will be precious memories for me. I strongly recommend the ELE programme.

– Dongkyu Seo, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2020

My time as an ELE scholar at UNU-INWEH was a very precious time for me. I could work on my research under my supervisor in a real, professional working environment. I also improved my communication and cooperation skills. If you are interested in researching the environment, I highly recommend this programme. It will be a fantastic experience for you.

– Hyungwook Lee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2019

It has been a wonderful experience working at UNU-INWEH as an ELE Scholar. I am grateful for the whole team at UNU-INWEH for providing me the opportunity to work with such a professional and passionate team. I am especially grateful for my advisor, Dr. Manzoor Qadir, who advised and supported me with the research process. The ELE programme at UNU-INWEH is not just about doing research but includes activities that make it unique from other organizations. The weekly trainee meetings and tasks were designed so well that through this, trainees get a chance to know each other and also and are able to enhance communication skills. For prospective students and professionals who want to start a career in the water sector, I highly recommend applying to UNU-INWEH trainee programmes. It will provide a strong foundation for your future.

– Gufran Bulbul, Tufts University, USA, 2019

The UNU-INWEH ELE Program has given me an unforgettable experience. It was an amazing opportunity to make a global review by conducting a literature review and statistical analysis on the subject of “Water-related disasters impacts on human health” and suggesting the limitations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I experienced how this institute applies SDGs to solve water, disaster, and health problems and also felt the power of these policies. Under the supervision of Dr Duminda Perera, he helped me to try various research methods, which inspired me a lot and gave me diverse experiences. For my future, this policy research experience made me clear the purpose of studying environmental engineering


– Jiseon Lee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2019

I had a great opportunity at UNU-INWEH with a “Global review of Rainwater Harvesting and potential application in Republic of Korea”. I became interested in the water issue in Republic of Korea and thought that rainwater harvesting technology could be a solution to the problems causing water crisis. I tried to think a lot and broaden my perspectives by studying different cases in different countries. Under the supportive supervision of Dr. Hamid Mehmood, I was able to work with confidence. My experience at UNU-INWEH allowed me to develop statistical techniques for analyzing data and improve the research skills that will benefit my future career.

– Jiseong Hur, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2019

Working at UNU-INWEH gave me a broader and in-depth insight on water-related global issues. My work at UNU-INWEH was on Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS). The knowledge I gained involving the FEWS project laid me an opportunity to complete my Master’s Course final report titled “Global Scale Evaluation of Flood Warning Systems”. Moreover, working at UNU-INWEH and meeting scholars from different parts of the world gave me a memorable life experience, and it helped me to set a more definite goal for my career path.

– Shu Yu, Univeristy of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada, 2018

I am so thankful to the staff at UNU-INWEH for giving me the opportunity to learn, and more importantly grow in an area that I am passionate about. Before starting at UNU I was unsure of the direction I wanted to go in the field of environment. Since working there I can now say that the work I did with Dr. Duminda Perera inspired me to get involved in the water sector and I am now exploring opportunities there. Without this experience I would still be trying to figure out just what I wanted to do, and the guidance provided by Dr. Duminda Perera and Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla has helped to set me on my path!

– Leia Jones, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2018

I had a wonderful time at UNU-INWEH and team and working on the ‘Water Security and Nexus’ project. The multi-cultural work atmosphere of UNU – and more generally of Hamilton, Canada and McMaster University – allows to broaden our mind and enrich our work. My key responsibility was to structure and develop the ‘Peace and Political Stability’ module of the Water Security online course. As an engineer apprentice, I really benefited from the help of UNU-INWEH staff – and more specifically Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla – to understand aspects of my tasks, some of which were new to me. This ELE experience is a real asset both for personal and for any later work or academic goals as it is about involvement with practical research projects that are designed to map worldwide realities and design solutions for the same.

– Alix Debray, National School for Water and Environmental Engineering, Strasbourg, France, 2018

At UNU-INWEH, while researching the impact of water quality, quantity, and extreme events on ‘human migration’ I got an opportunity to apply science based evidence and knowledge to real worlds water and human security related issues. The experience helped me to get holistic and different perspective of water and migration issues around the world. It’s a great institute where you can see how everyone is working to make a better world for both environment and human.

-Jisoo Sohn, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2017

I really had a great time in UNU-INWEH. I worked on Environmental Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollution(EPPP) and its effect on drinking water under the supervision of Dr. Duminda Perera. It was really helpful for me to understand the unexpected water pollution in everyday life and its relationship to us. More than the research, I had a great opportunity to meet diverse people. There are also opportunities and activities for all trainees and staff to learn more about each other. The researchers are very passionate about their field, and from that, I have learned there are very competent and ambitious people to work towards solving global water issues. I highly recommend the ELE programme at UNU-INWEH if you are interested in water-related problems, the United Nations, or if you want to broaden your view of the world.

– Chaeeun Shim, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2019

Working as an ELE scholar in UNU-INWEH was a nice opportunity which made me learn how to deal with the global water problem with Sustainable Development Goals. With the subject ‘Assessment of water security of Democratic Republic Congo employing an indicator based approach’, I could apply SDG indicators and rainfall statistical analysis to this research. Open-door meetings with supervisor Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla were a wonderful time to me and it inspired me to broaden my perspectives to environmental policy and enrich my work experience . This experience was a very good start of doing my own research and helped me set my future goals related to water treatment technology.

– Sujin Shin, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2019

Working as an ELE scholar in UNU-INWEH was a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge of United Nations Systems working and policy. In the part of global seaweed STAR project, I tried to suggest the direction of sustainable seaweed industry with a case study of South Korea’s seaweed industry. Thanks to my supervisor Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla, I could get a diverse aspect and approach of the seaweed industry’s challenges. UNU-INWEH was worthful experience working with a professional researcher in policymaking.

– Yeojin Kim, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2019

As an ELE scholar, my time at UNU-INWEH was incredibly rewarding. Under the supportive and kind supervision of Dr Nagabhatla, I was empowered to explore inter-disciplinary approaches to water cooperation among emerging economies in the BRICS consortium, which allowed me to apply my social science background while learning about the technicalities of water-related public policies. This experience also opened my eyes to the type of work that takes place at the intersection of think tanks and international organizations, and I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to grow as a student and researcher.

– Angela Hou, 2018

It was a wonderful experience at UNU-INWEH. With the subject of ‘Rainfall and disaster trend analysis in Sri Lankan major cities’, my time at UNU-INWEH provided me with an opportunity to learn about water disasters and various statistical trend analysis techniques. During the ELE Programme, I was able to improve my research skills, and it helped me decide what I will do after I graduate.

– Ahhyeon Cho, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2018

My work with UNU-INWEH, under the supervision of Dr. Nagabhatla, was a rewarding transitional opportunity after finishing my undergraduate degree. Working in the intersection of water security and politics enabled me to utilize the theoretical knowledge and analytic skills gained throughout my degree, and apply them to practical work in the water security context.

– Rebecca Carrick, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 2018

I am thankful to UNU-INWEH for providing outstanding work experience on how the United Nations systems work, while being Think Tanks on water, with me focusing on “Floods Early Warning Systems” project. This great opportunity enhanced the way of addressing a global problem from policy perspective and polished the research skills taking it to a next level. My supervisor Dr. Duminda Perera directed me towards a systematic approach while also helping me understand the aspects of our new project for which we developed its structure. UNU-INWEH has a unique multi-cultural, professional, co-operative and friendly work environment which helped me in expanding my professional network; hence ELE is an invaluable experience yielding research policy perspective know-how.

– Jetal Agnihotri, McMaster University, 2018

My time at UNU-INWEH provided me an opportunity to understand how United Nation organizations cooperate in achieving sustainable development goals. I started my research from understanding 7 main agreement including outcomes of COP21. Among them, I mainly focused on the New Urban Agenda & Habitat III to explore its connect with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) targets. Taking note of UNU-INWEH’s role as a bridge between researchers and water policymakers, understanding how information and knowledge flows in the making of water policy was of vital importance for me. If you are interested in understanding how the United Nations systems operates to impact affects real societies, it would be a great chance for you to consider undertaking the ELE programme.

Sukyong Yun, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2017

UNU-INWEH allowed me to do research on topics of my interest that overlaps with the thematic mandate of UNU INWEH’s work. I researched production and trade trends of capture fisheries and aquaculture, and impacts of dams and climate change on these sectors at various scales-global to regional to local. The experience allowed me allowed me to grasp inter-disciplinary knowledge from various fields such as economy, society, environment and science. I would like to advice all young professionals to take advantage of the ELE programme.

-Soojin Lee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, 2017

Skip to toolbar