Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

Summer 2015 Application Information

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Application Deadline Extended: Monday February 23, 2015
More Information

CU-Boulder has partnered with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCRCCC) to place graduate students in locations in eastern and southern Africa each summer. This collaborative program targets improvements in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making as well as disaster prevention and preparedness in the humanitarian sector. It connects humanitarian practitioners from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre – an affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – with graduate student researchers at the University of Colorado who are interested in science-policy issues. Through this program we strive to accomplish three key objectives:

  1. to improve the capacity of humanitarian practitioners within International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies network at the interface of science, policy and practice

  2. to help meet needs and gaps as well as work as a research clearing house in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making in response to climate variability and change, as identified through Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre priorities and projects

  3. to benefit graduate students by complementing the classes and research that they undertake in their graduate program with real-world experience in climate applications and development work

    This internship program will place 1-2 Master’s degree and/or Ph.D. students in an IFRC regional field office, a National Society branch office, or with a partner organization for a period of approximately 3 months.

    Students will design their own program of work in conjunction with CU-Boulder Director Max Boykoff and RCRCCC supervisors. The RCRCCC supervisors will liaise with specific IFRC field offices to identify potential projects and placements.  Projects can encompass, but are not limited to, topics such as the use of scientific information in decision making, communication of probability and uncertainty, perceptions of risk, and characterizing vulnerability and adaptive capacity.  Placements in the field will address specific needs identified by IFRC field staff related to challenges of science communication and adaptation decision-making.

    Participants will be required to provide six blog posts from the field during this placement, give some presentations (e.g. in ENVS, in the CSTPR brownbag series) upon return, and complete a report at the conclusion of their internship detailing their experience and research outcomes.

    Selected interns will be provided with round-trip airfare to their field site, with travel to be organized through the University of Colorado. Interns will also receive a stipend to offset costs of in-country housing, food, and transportation. In total, $5,000 funding will be provided to offset these expenses, which can vary widely depending on the location and nature of the placement. Due to this limited funding support, applicants are encouraged to seek additional funding from alternate sources, as expenses can exceed this budgeted amount, depending on the placements.

    This CU-Boulder program has now worked for two summers in locations of eastern and southern Africa, and has placed these five students in these places:

    2014 – Drew Zackary (Anthropology PhD), Apac and Otuke, Uganda
    2014 – Leslie Dodson (ATLAS PhD), Lusaka, Zambia and Capetown, South Africa
    2013 – Amy Quandt (ENVS PhD), Isiolo, Kenya
    2013 – Arielle Tozier de la Poterie (ENVS PhD), Soroti, Uganda
    2013 – Kanmani Venkateswaran (ENVS, MS), Lusaka, Zambia

    Projects have involved topics such as analysis of uses of regional climate forecasts to trigger anticipatory humanitarian action, and examinations of ways to improve the linking of science-based forecasts with humanitarian decisions. More information on the specifics of all these placements and activities can be found here.

Application Details

Criteria: Successful candidates will have a demonstrated interest in the Southern and/or East African regions, as well as demonstrated interest in one or both topic areas (environmental communication and adaptation decision-making), as evidenced by any of these elements: courses completed/underway, past work, volunteer and/or research experience generally, MS/PhD thesis direction.

Successful candidates must be self-starters and capable of adapting to independent working conditions. Students must have the consent of their graduate advisor to participate. A detailed terms of reference tailored to each intern will be developed by the intern and the relevant contacts in the months leading up to placement in the field.

Application Requirements (all submitted as separate pdf files):

  1. Up to 1000-word statement about interest (geographic and/or topical) in the internship program, as well as a description of: a) how participation would fit into graduate study, b) current skills would help to the RCRCCC to achieve its mission, c) preferred focus of work or topic of study, and d) future career goals and objectives. Please be sure to specifically describe why and how the internship will be a mutually beneficial opportunity for both the CU student and the RCRCCC.

  2. Statement of availability between May and August 2015

  3. Current C.V.

  4. One page letter/statement of advisor support

  5. Unofficial transcript(s) from graduate work at University of Colorado-Boulder

    Where to submit applications:  Submit to
    Application Deadline:  February 23, 2015


Max Boykoff
Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Program
tel: (303) 735-0451,

Arielle Tozier de la Poterie (Graduate Student Co-coordinator)
Environmental Studies PhD student

Meaghan Daly
Environmental Studies PhD student

These internships are made available through support by the Environmental Studies program (ENVS) and from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR).