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. The application deadline is October 21, 2021.

Please note that the link is for an open-rank position to which applicants of all levels should apply; your application will be reviewed for the two open positions in light of your experience. Those who have already applied need not reapply.

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

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 ([email protected]), 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 Spring 2022 (remote possible)(Full listing coming soon):

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. From a policy perspective, more support is needed for 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. CCSI seeks one or more students 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, investment promotion and screening, among other areas. Strong research and writing skills are important.

Paid internship: Working on Greenhouse Gas / 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 knowledge and experience in greenhouse gas (GHG) / carbon accounting 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 GHG / carbon accounting methods across the material sector and their value chains. Currently, the lack of harmonization is blocking bolder climate action. The candidate must have demonstrated analytical skills as well as knowledge and experience in GHG / carbon accounting. Preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills, and with experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to climate policy and extractive industries. Time commitment: At least 15 hours per week.

Unpaid internship: International Law for a Net-Zero Emissions, Climate-Resilient Future

CCSI is seeking LLM or JD student interns with strong international legal research and writing skills to assist with research, writing, and other activities relating to CCSI’s project on International Law for a Net-Zero Emissions, Climate-Resilient Future. Tasks will include coordinating and performing legal research and developing innovative policy thinking on investment-related aspects of various international legal regimes, including those governing climate change, the environment, investment, trade, intellectual property, labor, and human rights. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated expertise in one or more of the specific areas of international law listed.

Paid internship: Rights-respecting Land Investments & the Private Sector

CCSI seeks a JD, LLM, or other graduate student (or a motivated and high-performing undergraduate student) to support the Center’s research on responsible and rights-respecting land-based investments. The internship will involve working on priority projects requiring research, analysis, and writing. These projects may include engaging in horizon scanning activities to understand the current landscape of private sector respect for human rights in the context of land-based investments, researching legislative initiatives to mandate corporate respect for human rights at home and abroad, and developing innovative resources for communities, governments, and/or the private sector actors (including financial institutions, investors, and companies). Preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills. Knowledge or experience of issues relating to the corporate responsibility to respect human rights (in particular, land rights and community rights) in the context of responsible land-based investment is desirable. French language fluency is also desirable, but not required.

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. ([email protected]).

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 [email protected].