Internships with the Cities Programme

The Global Compact Cities Programme Internship Program attracts stellar post graduate students and early career urban professionals from across the world and is a central platform for research activity.

For interns, a placement with the Global Compact Cities Programme is a valuable opportunity to develop research skills and knowledge of urban issues through working on a real world urban-related project aligned to the candidates career or research interests. Some interns progress to/undertake research projects that are a core credited component of University study, for example:

  • Honors
  • Masters’ minor thesis
  • Masters by Research
  • PhD research.

The internship program, which has been in place since 2011, has become an important component of the Cities Programme. Our interns have added a valuable dimension to the Programme, contributed to our team culture and the type of specialist support we are able to provide participating cities. It has also contributed significantly to the development of small, targeted high quality research projects.


Internships with the Cities Programme suit both post graduate students and early career urban professionals. Over the past three years we have attracted high calibre candidates from both cohorts.

You need to have strong written communication skills, an interest in applied research and preferably some research experience (this is preferable but not essential). A keen and genuine interest in learning about and contributing to innovative and effective practice and improved social and environmental outcomes in cities is essential.

You need to be mature, able to work with a high degree of autonomy and show initiative but also be able to work in a team and with guidance.

The internship is applicable to a range of educational programs and professions with an international development or urban focus.

Secondary language skills are very well regarded.

What would you do?

The role is based around participation in research project related to some form of urban sustainability. The focus of the project is negotiated around your interests and aspirations and aims to increase research skills and knowledge of the field and has the potential to be the basis for further research. Developing outputs from the research that are useful for cities is highly encouraged. These include reports, guides, tools, case studies and need to be written in plain english and accessible to a range of urban decision-makers and practitioners and the general public.

The project will be guided and supervised by an academic staff member and may result in a co-authored academic paper.  This research can be the basis of post-graduate thesis; it can also be a discrete project. Working towards academic publishing is strongly encouraged. This takes a much longer period and will extend beyond the period of the internship.

The internship may also include a range of administrative and communication activities to develop your project management skills and understanding of the requirements of administering and building an international programme. In some cases this may be the principle focus of the internship depending on professional interest.

From time to time, positions become available in a Global Compact city. This involves working on location, supporting the city’s projects, providing administration, reporting and research services to the project. This type of placement has dual supervision, from a city staff member and from the International Secretariat office in Melbourne.


The internship is undertaken for a minimum of three months, for three days a week or equivalent. It is often taken over a longer period for less days per week. This is negotiable. Some people have extended the internship to 6 months or a year depending on the placement and the interest of the person. To date, this has been with internship placements in cities.


You are required to apply in writing, expressing why you are interested in undertaking the internship, your career aspirations, research interests etc and provide a CV. You will receive a follow up email and if shortlisted, undertake an interview. A number of applicants may be applying for one position, many things will be taken into consideration, including values and experience, academic capability, research and writing skills, organisation and interpersonal communication skills. The project also needs to be a good match with applicants career aspirations.

Is it paid?

No, interns do not receive a wage. They do however receive an honorarium.


We have been fully subscribed with interns since first opening the program, a formal intake date has not yet been scheduled for 2015. As projects become available they will be advertised.

If you have a specific interest and skill set please feel free to forward an email expressing your interest to Cities Programme Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan –

2015 Internship Opportunity – ´Reimagining the Suburb´ – NOW FULLY SUBSCRIBED

The Global Compact Cities Programme recently had a unique opportunity for interns to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team on a highly applied and valuable urban development research project. It is now fully subscribed.

‘Reimagining the Suburb’ is an exciting project, led by Associate Professor Sarah Bekessy and Dr Georgia Garrard and funded by The Myer Foundation. It aims to improve conservation of biodiversity in cities through the investigation of alternative approaches to urban planning, design and development that aim to improve conservation of biodiversity in cities. The project aims to address two critical issues for biodiversity conservation in cities: first, that urban developments are unnecessarily hostile places for biodiversity; and second, that biodiversity continues to be lost to urban sprawl.

Five sub-projects are on offer. Interns will work under direct supervision and with these leading researchers from the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group at RMIT… (Read more)