Working With CCSI

Legal or Policy Researcher

CCSI is hiring a Legal or Policy Researcher to work on our Land, Agriculture & Food Systems portfolio of projects. This position will collaborate with CCSI’s Director and Research Staff to execute the Center’s applied research agenda on the laws, policies, and practices that shape international investment and its alignment with sustainable development and human rights. Specifically, the incumbent will contribute to ongoing projects and research related to trends and developments in international investment policy and legal frameworks, and alternative policies and practices related to international investment, particularly with respect to the Center’s focus on natural resource investments (e.g. land, agriculture and mining), the energy transition, human rights, and finance. This position also supports CCSI’s technical advisory work with select governments, companies, and civil society organizations. The incumbent will contribute to ongoing projects, including through project and advisory work, desk research, stakeholder consultations, organizing and facilitating events and trainings, maintaining contact with collaborators, and helping to develop materials for publications, among other possible activities. Requires a high degree of initiative and independent judgment. In addition to the specifications in the job description linked below, the following qualifications are preferred:

  • French or Spanish language 
  • Interest in and knowledge of international investment law and policy, international human rights law, developments in the field of business and human rights, climate change, and/or land governance 
  • Experience collaborating with Global South-based actors, governments, civil society, and/or UN agencies
  • Experience convening events

For further details, and to apply, please see here.

(Please do not apply directly to CCSI's email account).


Paid Short-term Consultancy: Legal and Policy Researcher (Parental Leave Cover)

Key information:

  • Location: Remote, with possibility of travel when circumstances allow
  • Day rate: Commensurate with experience; bids accepted.
  • Type and duration: Full-time, Late November 2021-March 2022, with a possible opportunity for extension
  • Application deadline: October 15, 2021

The role:

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)  seeks  a  Legal  and  Policy  Researcher  to  work on our International Investment Law and Policy portfolio of  projects  and  provide  research  services on the laws, policies, and practices that shape international investment and its alignment with sustainable development and human rights. The consultant will work with CCSI’s Investment Law & Policy team. The work may be completed remotely, and may include travel when circumstances allow.

The project:

The project will seek to generate dialogue and deepen understanding regarding whether and to what extent international investment law and policy aligns with sustainable development and human rights; which will be observed across countries on the national and local level. This research will contribute to the Center's ongoing research agenda.

The researcher will contribute to ongoing projects and research related to trends and developments in international investment policy, with a focus on international investment treaties and investor-state disputes arising under those agreements. Responsibilities will include doing research, writing, editing, organizing, and facilitating events and trainings, and maintaining contact with collaborators.

The details and requirements:

This is a full-time, 4 or 4.5-month consultancy role, with the possibility of an extension (contingent upon available funding and other circumstances). Applicants should be available to begin in late November 2021.

CCSI is seeking consultants who:

  • Have 4+ years of experience working in the field of international investment law, which may be met through a combination of education and work.
  • Have obtained a PhD, SJD, JD or LLM in economics, law, development, political science, or other related field.
  • A solid understanding of the organizations and actors shaping and engaging in international investment law, including relevant intergovernmental and civil society organizations, and familiarity with ongoing reform initiatives.
  • An understanding of, and a strong desire to further analyze, the ways in which international investment law and policy relates to and affects sustainable development.
  • Willingness to learn new areas and to work in a highly interdisciplinary, flexible, and dynamic environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal, organization, research and communication skills required as well as initiative, motivation and ability to think strategically.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required. Proficiency in a second language is preferred

How to express interest:

Please submit a cover letter, CV, and a writing sample (e.g. a recent publication) authored solely by yourself in a single PDF file to Nancy Siporin <nancy.siporin@columbia.edu>.

In your cover letter, please explain whether and to what extent you meet the criteria listed under the “details and requirements” section above, and please state your daily rate.


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 all together in a single file, in that order. 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 (nancy.siporin@columbia.edu), unless otherwise specified.  

Application deadlines are as follows (although applications will be considered on a rolling basis):

  • 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. Only students currently enrolled at Columbia University are eligible for paid positions. Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week for Spring or Fall internships unless otherwise indicated, 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.

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 2021 (remote possible):

Unpaid internship: SDG-Aligned Business, Finance and Investing

CCSI seeks to strengthen the alignment of finance and business with the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the widespread recognition of opportunities and responsibilities of companies, and investors in them, with respect to sustainable development, there remains a critical need to rethink, or expand upon, standards, disclosure frameworks, and metrics necessary to meaningfully shift practice, and to produce comparable and reliable information upon which to make investment decisions. CCSI seeks a student to conduct research and analysis to support its work in this area. Preference will be given to students with experience or familiarity with ESG and other investing frameworks and reporting standards, banking and investment products (e.g. debt, equity, bonds), objectives and trends in responsible business practices, among other areas. Strong research and writing skills are important.

Paid internship: Responsible and Rights-Respecting Land Investments

CCSI seeks a JD, LLM, or other graduate student (or a motivated and high-performing undergraduate student) to support the Center’s research and advisory work on responsible and rights-respecting land-based investments. The internship will involve working closely with senior staff on priority projects requiring research, analysis, and writing. These projects may include supporting the development of innovative responses to, and resources for, communities or governments in specific country contexts, the private sector (including development finance institutions, ESG investors and renewable energy companies), and other stakeholders. Preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills. Knowledge or experience of issues relating to responsible land-based investment, land rights, government policymaking related to investments, and/or community rights in the context of resource investments is desirable. French language is also desirable.

Unpaid internship: International Investment Law and Policy 

CCSI is seeking JD and LLM students to support a number of projects requiring research and analysis of international trade and investment treaties, treaty-based investor-state arbitration claims, and debates around reform of the investment treaty regime. Familiarity with international investment law is required. Preference will be given to applicants with strong research and writing skills.

Unpaid internship: Legal and Policy Research on Mining, Energy, Climate Change, 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 mining, energy, and climate change work. Tasks may include performing legal and policy research on domestic and international legal frameworks governing mining and energy investment and assisting with cross-cutting research on climate change. 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 mining, energy or climate change.

Unpaid internship: Economic and Policy Research on Mining, Energy, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development

CCSI is seeking graduate student interns to assist with research, writing, and other activities relating to various projects in CCSI’s mining, energy, and climate change work. Tasks may include performing economic and policy research on mining and energy investments and assisting with cross-cutting research on climate change. Preference will be given to candidates with strong research, quantitative, and writing skills, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in mining, energy or climate change.

Internship (Paid or for credit): Aligning the Food Sector to the Sustainable Development Goals

CCSI seeks a graduate student to support its work on aligning the practices of food sector companies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This work will include conducting research and analysis related to the various ways through which businesses, particularly in the food sector, can affect achievement of the SDGs. Research topics range from nutritional health and environmental sustainability to human rights and corporate governance (which includes tax practices and lobbying). The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers, including the Project Lead, Food Sector and the SDGs. Preference will be given to students with strong research and writing skills. Familiarity with the food sector and corporate responsibility is a plus. This internship can be done for class credit or as a paid internship.

Paid Internship: Arabic-Speaking Researcher on Sustainable Finance

CCSI seeks a law or policy graduate student (or a motivated and high-performing undergraduate student) to support the Center’s research and advisory work related to sustainable finance. In particular, the research will support an analysis of the alignment of Islamic Finance with ‘ESG investing,’ and other selected sustainable finance frameworks. The researcher will also support broader research on how investments or projects might be assessed, selected, and shaped to align with the SDGs, and the tools available to governments to support such policies. The internship will involve working closely with senior staff and the Center’s director on research, analysis, and event organizing. Knowledge of sustainable finance is strongly preferred. Speaking and reading in Arabic is necessary for this work.

Unpaid internship: Working on Carbon Accounting Methods for the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET) 

CCSI is seeking a highly motivated and detail-oriented SIPA, CBS, or Engineering school graduate student with strong experience in climate policy to support research and writing for the COMET initiative. A partnership between CCSI, the Payne Institute for Public Policy, RMI, and the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change), COMET is seeking to harmonize carbon accounting methods across the material sector and their value chains. Currently, the lack of harmonization is blocking bolder climate action. The candidate should have demonstrated analytical skills and preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills, experience working with carbon accounting, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to climate policy and energy/extractive industries.

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 Extractives; Land, Agriculture & Food Systems; 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. (pcunha@law.columbia.edu).

Unpaid internship: Repositioning Mining Companies as Materials Companies

CCSI is seeking a highly motivated and detail-oriented JD, LLM, or graduate student from SIPA, CBS, or the Engineering School with experience and background in recycling to support research and writing in a project led by its Mining & Energy workstream. Recycling and circular economy approaches are increasingly considered as alternatives to the primary extraction of the critical minerals needed for the zero-carbon energy transition. This research project will explore economic, technological, legal, and policy aspects of the transition of primary mining companies into materials companies that also operate in the recycling market. The candidate should have demonstrated analytical skills, and preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills, experience working with recycling or circular economy approaches, and experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to recycling or the mining sector.

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: 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.

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 ccsi@law.columbia.edu.