Research Internships

The Think Tanks and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) runs a small, highly selective internship program for students (undergrad, gap year, and grad) and recent graduates interested in gaining first-hand experience in public policy research in domestic and international affairs. Over 600 undergraduate, gap year, and graduate students have participated in the research intern program. Candidates must be highly motivated to work independently in a demanding think tank environment that requires excellent research and analysis as well as project management skills. Candidates must be proficient in both oral and written English. Knowledge of Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic is a plus but not a prerequisite for most projects. Internships are unpaid and based in our Philadelphia office. Interns work independently and in teams. We do our best to match the qualifications and interests of our interns with research and consulting projects to which they can contribute most. This is an excellent opportunity for those students who are planning to attend graduate school in international relations, public policy, law school and/or work in a think tank or international organization.

INTERN POSITIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR FALL, SPRING, AND SUMMER TERMS. Ideal for International Relations, Political Science, English, Environment, Global Health and Development majors.

The research interns meet on Friday afternoons (usually 3-5PM) to review progress and discuss career oriented issues and other topics of interest. The TTCSP is a collaborative effort between the International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania and the Foreign Policy Research Institute. The duration of the internship is 16 weeks and the time commitment ranges from 10-12 hours a week for a part time internship. Full time opportunities and assignments are available for those looking to gain work experience before entering graduate school or for those who want to position themselves for full time paid employment. Internships require a minimum of 15 hours a week during fall and spring semesters and 25-30 hours a week in the summer. The work schedule is flexible with the vast majority of the assignments being done off-site at a research library. Interns are entitled to attend (free of charge) conferences and lectures on domestic and foreign policy topics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, World Affairs Council and the University of Pennsylvania.

Interested in Interning for TTCSP?

Please see the 2016-17 Internship Information page on this website.

2016-2017 Academic Year Projects

Spring 2016 Internship Duration: January 13 to May 8

Summer 2016 Internship Duration: May 16th to July 29

Fall 2016-2017 Internship Duration: September 1- December 2

(We are starting to accept interns for the summer internship on a rolling basis; Gap year interns are accepted all year around)

Regional Teams

Think Tanks and Policy Advice in Asia

This ongoing project involves mapping and analyzing the state of policy research across Asia. The research examines civil societies, think tanks, major policy issues and policy advice in the region. Students who are proficient in Chinese and/or are pursuing course of study or degree in Asian studies are preferred.

       Think Tanks and Policy Advice in India 

This ongoing project involves mapping and analyzing the state of policy research across India. The research  examines civil societies, think tanks, major policy issues and policy advice in the region.

Think Tanks and Policy Advice in Latin America

This ongoing project involves mapping and analyzing the state of policy research in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The research examines civil societies, think tanks, major policy issues and policy advice in the region. Students who are proficient in Spanish and/or are pursuing course of study or degree in Latin American studies are preferred.

Think Tanks and Policy Advice in Africa

This ongoing project involves mapping and analyzing the state of policy research in Africa. The research examines civil societies, think tanks, major policy issues and policy advice in the region. Students who are proficient in French and/or are pursuing course of study or degree in African Studies are preferred.

Think Tanks and Policy Advice in MENA

This ongoing project involves mapping and analyzing the state of policy research in MENA. The research examines civil societies, think tanks, major policy issues and policy advice in the region. Students who are proficient in Arabic, French and/or are pursuing course of study or degree in Middle Eastern Studies are preferred.

Think Tanks and Policy Advice in North America

This ongoing project involves mapping and analyzing the state of policy research in Africa. The research examines civil societies, think tanks, major policy issues and policy advice in the region. Students who are proficient in Spanish and/or are pursuing course of study or degree in Political Science are preferred.

General Research Projects

Security and International Affairs (SIA)

A project charting the evolution of security studies from traditional (nuclear/conventional forces) to unconventional (political, economic, health) among think tanks.  Language skills are a plus, as is an interest in security studies.

BRICS/Emerging Powers

A project charting the development of think tanks and civil society in emerging powers and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Proficiency in any of the languages of the aforementioned countries are a plus.

Quality, Integrity and Independence 

The goal of this project is to produce a report that analyzes a comprehensive list of thirty-five policies and procedures in place at major research institutions that assure the quality, integrity and independence of public policy research. The inventory of policies and procedures has been collected from across three sectors: research universities, health research centers, and think tanks throughout the United States and selected institutions abroad. After the data has been collected and analyzed, it will be organized and presented into a user friendly online resource guide in order for research institutions to model, understand, and implement our findings into meaningful actions.

Organization and Policy

Think tanks are now facing the pressures of globalization, an unstable political order, and information saturation in the digital age. Think tanks are struggling to keep pace in this rapidly changing, information rich environment. The organization and policy innovation team’s goal is to research best practices in other sectors to see what can be adopted to help think tanks continue to operate effectively in an increasingly challenging environment.

Institutional Projects

Publications

Responsible for the editing of TTCSP Publications.  Strong writing skills and a background in editing are vital for members of this group.

External Relations

Responsible for the development of branding, TTCSP’s website, and the maintenance of our facebook page and twitter.  Additional assignments include the preparation of interview briefs for Dr. McGann.  Knowledge of social media, web development, and the ability to think outside the box are a plus.

Research Intern Positions

Research Interns

Collect and analyze data, prepares a review of relevant literature, conducts research on assigned topics.

Intern Coordinators

Help with ad hoc research projects, presentations and lectures. Organizes weekly programs, schedules individual and group meetings for interns, arranges speakers and provides a communication link to all interns.

Project Leads

Organize research teams and manage project under direction of Dr. McGann.  Must have demonstrated leadership ability and excellent organizational skills.

About the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania examines the role policy institutes play in governments and in civil societies around the world. Often referred to as the ‘think tank’s think tank,’ TTCSP examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations. The Program was established in 1989 at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and moved in 2008 to the University of Pennsylvania. Over the last 22 years the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program has laid the foundation for a global initiative that will help bridge the gap between knowledge and policy in critical policy areas such as international peace and security, globalization and governance, international economics, environment, information and society, poverty alleviation and health. This international collaborative effort is designed to establish regional and international networks of policy institutes and communities that will improve policy making and strengthen democratic institutions and civil societies around the world. The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program works with some of the leading scholars and practitioners from think tanks and universities in a variety of collaborative efforts and programs.