Working with CCSI

Jobs  Internships  Fellowships



CCSI is hiring a Researcher to develop a robust conceptual framework that rigorously defines SDG-aligned business practices in the energy sector. The successful candidate will work with CCSI researchers, as well as external partners and collaborators, and will:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the energy sector, and specifically, its intersection with sustainability and human rights; preferred familiarity with existing corporate standards, frameworks, benchmarks and Environmental, Social and Governance criteria relevant to the energy sector.
  • Have experience working independently and as part of a team; demonstrate strong writing, research and analytical skills, with the ability to synthesize, categorize and critique information; and proven capacity to take a leading role in project design and implementation;
  • Have experience engaging with corporate partners, as well as other organizations working on sustainability.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Successful candidates will be expected to begin promptly.

Apply here.


Internships: We offer a limited number of unpaid and paid research and administrative internships for undergraduate and graduate students (including graduate students in law, business, international affairs, and environmental studies) during the fall, spring and summer. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, and writing sample. The cover letter should include a distinct list of which internships you are applying for (you may include as many as you’d like). Please submit materials to Nancy Siporin (, unless otherwise specified.  

Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall semester: September 15
  • Spring semester: January 15
  • Summer: March 31

Candidates must currently be enrolled in a degree program, have astute research, analytical and writing skills, and enjoy working on a team. Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week for Spring or Fall internships, but more hours are possible. Summer internships are full-time (35-40 hours per week), unless otherwise noted. Continuation into subsequent semesters is possible, and course or academic internship credit can be granted in limited cases.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. If you are applying for a paid internship, please indicate if you are work-study eligible (preferred but not required).

Internship opportunities available for Fall 2019:

Paid Internship: A Brazilian Case Study of Mining Related Shared-Use Infrastructure

As part of the work on Leveraging Mining-Related Infrastructure Investments for Development, CCSI will assess the costs and benefits related to a railway corridor investment by a mining company in Brazil. The project will also look at the legal and operational framework under which the corridor operates and write up the lessons learned. To support this project, CCSI is seeking a Portuguese-speaking intern. Preference will be given to applicants that have experience in cost-benefit analyses, impact assessments or infrastructure investments.

Paid Internship: Support to Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development

CCSI seeks a graduate student to support the extractive industries and sustainable development workstream on a number of projects that are underway during the fall term. Among others, this includes research on the impact of automation in the mining sector and how governments can perform better due diligence on extractive industry investors. Preference will be given to candidates with a strong policy background, as well as good research and writing skills.

Paid internship: The Politics of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Latin America

CCSI is seeking a graduate student to assist with research and writing on the politics of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of extractives projects in Latin America. The project explores the politics of FPIC and community consultation—how the distribution of power across different actors, the (mis)alignments of their interests, and characteristics of political systems and broader structures affect whether and how FPIC processes unfold. Preference will be given to applicants who are native or fluent in Spanish and/or Portuguese, have strong research and writing skills, and prior experience working on relevant topics. 

Unpaid internship: Legal Research on Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development

CCSI is seeking LLM or JD student interns to assist with research, writing, and other activities relating to various projects in CCSI’s extractive industries work stream. Tasks may include: performing legal research on the legal frameworks that govern extractive industries in different countries and assisting with cross-cutting research on land and extractives. Preference will be given to candidates with strong legal research and writing skills, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to extractive industries.

Unpaid internship: Avoiding Harm to Communities in the Context of Land-based Investment

CCSI is seeking a graduate student to assist with work on strategies to avoid harm to communities at risk of experiencing negative environmental and social impacts of land-based investment projects, including renewable energy projects. Work includes conducting research on: (i) the risks for renewable energy companies in not adequately engaging communities and respecting their rights and (ii) solutions for increasing funding for technical support and empowerment for communities. Preference will be given to applicants with strong research and writing skills.

Unpaid internship: Human Rights Law Arguments for Community Rights to Consent, Information, and Consultation

CCSI is seeking a graduate student to assist with research and other activities relating to international human rights law as it applies to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), and human rights to information, participation, and consultation. This relates to CCSI’s work on incorporating FPIC and consultation into investor-state contract negotiations, and to the rights of communities affected by resource investments more generally.

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: Understanding the Transparency Needs, Demands, and Uses of Local Communities and Host Governments in the Context of Land Investments

CCSI seeks graduate students to assist with research and other activities relating to research on a demand-driven approach to transparency of land investments that investigates—both at the international level and in specific country contexts—what is the most important and useful information to disclose and why, in order to inform strategies to strengthen land governance around investment projects. The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers and conduct detailed desk-based research on the transparency needs, demands and experiences of affected communities and host governments, among other questions. Other assistance may be required to prepare for field research in two target countries. Preference will be given to students with strong research and analysis skills, including the ability to use academic databases and other online search techniques. Some knowledge or experience with the field of business and human rights and/or responsible land-based investment is also desired. Fluency in French or Spanish is desirable but not required.

Unpaid internship: Investment Approval Processes

CCSI is seeking a graduate student (preferably JD, LLM, or SIPA student) to support and contribute to research regarding investment approval processes for land-based investments, with a particular focus on agricultural investments. The research will include: (i) examining and producing a generalized mapping of how investment approval processes of agricultural investments work in specific regions/ countries, with regions/ countries to be identified; (ii) identifying the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in investment approval processes; and (iii) exploring the role of investment incentives in the context of investment approval and governance. Candidates need not have familiarity with this specific issue area in order to be considered. However, those familiar with legal and policy frameworks that govern international investment at the international and/ or domestic level will be preferred. Similarly, candidates with fluency in French and Spanish are encouraged to apply. 

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. (

What CCSI offers: Through the internship experience, interns can expect to make substantive contributions to research and/or administrative activities at CCSI. The internship experience is a mutually beneficial one, and provides interns with opportunities for professional growth and learning. CCSI develops specific terms of reference for every intern each semester, with clear tasks and timelines.

What CCSI looks for:  CCSI seeks interns to fill specific programmatic and administrative needs. Ideal candidates should have an interest in at least one of CCSI’s workstreams – extractive industries, land and agriculture or investment law and policy.  Ideal candidates should be detailed-oriented, well-organized and responsive, and prioritize and carry out tasks with minimal supervision. Candidates should also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Our interns have included both undergraduate and graduate students from Columbia College, Columbia Law School, the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Columbia Business School. We also occasionally accept Interns from outside the university.


Fellowships: Our range of Fellows include Visiting Scholars, Fellows and Senior Fellows. Visiting Scholars can include international scholars, professors, judges, practitioners, and government officials, as well as doctoral students at the start of their scholarly careers. Visiting Scholars must apply through Columbia Law School’s Visiting Scholars Program. Applications for Visiting Scholars are reviewed three times during the year, corresponding with three program intakes, as follows:

  • Fall semester: applications due no later than April 1.
  • Spring semester: applications due no later than September 1.
  • Summer semester: applications due no later than March 1.

Fellows and Senior Fellows are CCSI advisors who provide programmatic and operational advice and support to the Center. For more information, please contact us at