Internships with the Cities Programme

Participation in the post-graduation Research Incubator usually commences through an internship with Global Compact Cities Programme where the student will begin to develop their research skills and knowledge working on a small urban project related to their career or research interests. Some students progress to study that relates and is directly accredited to their University study:

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

Alternately students could enter at a more advanced level if the student has sufficient research experience and aptitude and the project may incorporate a current Masters thesis or previous work experience/projects (for those already working in the urban sector) or be independently developed.

However, an internship (of 3 to 5 months) is highly encouraged as it provides an initial orientation to the Cities Programme and valuable vocational experience and also allows time to explore research options and refine research focus and framework.

The Cities Programme internship program has proved to be a very successful with interns adding a valuable dimension to the Programme, our team culture and the type of support we can provide participating cities; which includes participation in small, targeted high quality research projects.


This internships suits people with strong written communication and research skills and a keen interest in international development and sustainability.  It is applicable to a range of educational programs with an international development or urban planning focus.  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.

Secondary language skills are very well regarded.

What would you do?

The role often includes participation in an academic research project, specific to innovating cities and urban sustainability. The focus of the project is negotiated around your interests and aims to increase research skills and knowledge of the field and has the potential to be the basis for further research. It will be guided and supervised by an academic staff member and may result in a co-authored academic paper.  It is often best if this research forms the basis of post-graduate thesis. 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 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 generally undertaken over a three month period for three days a week or equivalent. Its is often taken over a longer period for less days per week. This is negotiable. Some people have extended it to up 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, and do not have a formal intake date for 2015. A specific opportunity recently become available in alternative approaches to urban planning, design and development, see below. This is now fully subscribed.

As other 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)