The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) welcomes applicants for academic calendar internships. STIP focuses on bringing foresight to the frontier, exploring emerging technologies through vital conversations that are not just for scientists. We recommend exploring our website first to determine if your research interests align with current STIP programming.  Internships with STIP are designed to provide the opportunity for practical experience in an environment that successfully combines scholarship with public policy. Interns will gain valuable experience in various projects including conference and event organization, publication research and preparation, academic research, and administrative assignments in support of both STIP and Wilson Center activities. Interns are also encouraged to pursue independent research projects pertinent to the program's objectives, which may include:

  • 5G
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Data
  • Citizen Science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Disinformation
  • Marine Debris/Ocean Plastics
  • One Health
  • Open Science
  • Public Communication of Science
  • Serious Games


We offer two types of internships: graduate-level research and undergraduate-level research internships. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible. All internships must be served in Washington, D.C. and cannot be served remotely. Unless otherwise stated, internships are unpaid and require a minimum 20 hour per week committement.

Graduate Research Internships

For graduate students, law students, or those accepted to a graduate-level program, we offer a project-based research internship. Successful applicants should have strong research and administrative skills; be detail-oriented, able to work independently, and able to work collaboratively. It is recommended that before applying to this internship the applicants review current projects being promoted on the STIP website for goodness of fit with the applicant's own research trajectory.

Assignments may include:

  • Conducting independent research on science and technology innovation issues relevant to STIP initiatives
  • Co-authoring a journal article or Wilson Center policy brief
  • Developing grant proposals
  • Developing prototypes
  • Writing articles and blog posts for the STIP website, in conjunction with specific projects as described above.


Undergraduate Research Internship

Open to undergraduates, recent graduates and graduate students, unpaid, educational internship opportunities are available year-round. We do not limit by specific majors, but instead look for students who are interested in engaging with issues around STEM from a multitude of perspectives, including the applications to science, policy, and the public. A successful applicant will have a demonstrated interested in science and technology issues areas and project management skills.

Assignments may include:

  • Drafting posts for our blog, CTRL Forward
  • Supporting staff with social media outreach
  • Assisting staff with preparation for events
  • Providing ancillary research for publications
  • Performing administrative assignments in support of STIP activities
  • Other duties as assigned



 Special Project Intern: Low Cost & Open Source Hardware

Tools like Foldscope, a $1 microscope, and Arduino, a microprocessor for creating customized scientific instrumentation, show how low cost hardware (including open, proprietary, and mixed solutions) can accelerate research while making it more transparent and participatory.  These tools have the potential to change how, and by whom, science is done, within professional spaces and broader communities.  But more work is needed to understand the capacity and future potential for low-cost hardware to accelerate and broaden participation in scientific research. We are seeking a research intern with an interest in exploring democratized scientific research and technological development through the lens of low cost hardware.

This intern will work with the STIP team to:

  • Conduct background research on low cost hardware to understand policy accelerators and barriers, existing and emerging communities and networks, issues around data governance, data quality, and scale, and related topics.
  • Write or edit articles and blog posts on topics of interest or reporting out on local events.
  • Support meetings, conferences, and other events, gaining valuable event management experience.
  • Provide general logistical support.


This is a paid position available for 15-20 hours a week for graduate-level students only. Applicants from all backgrounds will be considered, though experience conducting cross and trans-disciplinary research is an asset.  Ability to work independently is critical. Interested applicants should submit a resume, cover letter describing their interest in this project, and two writing samples.  One writing sample should be formal (e.g., a class paper); the other, informal (e.g., a blog post or similar).


Special Project Internship Opportunity: Public Policy Options for Ocean Plastics

Our world is drowning in plastic pollution. Humans produce about 300 million tons of plastic waste every year, equivalent to the weight of the entire human population in 2018. Nowhere is this crisis more visible than in our oceans, which by 2050 could contain more plastic than fish. Further complicating this issue are city-state actors, such as the United States, EU and China, who have vastly different approaches in how to negate the issue area. The global public needs to understand the impact of plastic pollution and how to end its leakage into the ocean.

We are seeking a research intern with an interest in exploring the ocean plastics issue in a shared role between the China Environment Forum and Science and Technology Innovation Program's Serious Games Initiative.

The primary responsibilities of this internship would be:

  • Write or edit articles for either peer-reviewed or popular media, such as blog posts, to promote education and outreach around this issue area.
  • Conduct background research on trends in policy approaches to plastic pollution.
  • Support meetings, conferences, and other events, gaining valuable event management experience.
  • Provide logistical support for ongoing projects.
  • Curating social media content and managing website content.

Successful applicants should:

  • Have a demonstrated background in policy or social science research.
  • Excel at writing for mixed audiences, with particular preference given to candidates with background in writing academic and popular media (blog) styles.
  • Be detail-oriented.
  • Be able to work independently and as part of a group.
  • Be enrolled in a degree program, recently graduated (within the last year) and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program within the next year.
  • Have a documented interest in marine debris research, oceanic or environmental research, US-China policy, or game-based learning.

This is an unpaid position available for 15-20 hours a week for undergraduate and graduate-level students. Applicants from all backgrounds will be considered, with likely fields of study ranging from public policy (e.g. public policy, international development, political science) to social science (education, natural resources, environmental studies, communication, science and technology studies) or regional studies (e.g. Asia or China studies). Experience conducting cross and trans-disciplinary research is an asset.  

Interested applicants should submit a resume, cover letter describing their interest in this project, and one academic writing sample. A complete package should be submitted to Elizabeth Newbury, PhD, Elizabeth.Newbury@wilsoncenter.org with the subject line: "Intern Application: Special Project Intern on Ocean Plastics"



Application Process and Materials


For all internships, please submit all application materials to Elizabeth.Newbury@wilsoncenter.org. Please specify in the subject line the intended time period for your internship with [SEMESTER] [YEAR] Internship e.g. “SPRING 2020 Internship”. If there is a specific topic area or project, please note that in the subject line of the email, e.g. 'FALL 2020 Internship for Digital Futures Project' or otherwise clearly state the focus points in the cover letter.

Due to the sheer volume of applications we receive, only those candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. To ensure your consideration, please submit only a completed application.

A completed application will have the following materials, compiled into a single PDF.

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in STIP, including dates and availability and confirmation that you can serve in DC
  • CV/Resume
  • A brief writing sample ideally demonstrating your work in science and technology research.



Please note: international students studying in the U.S. are eligible, but they must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa and appropriate work authorization. All international students must obtain written permission from their designated school official or responsible officer for visas at their university stating they have valid immigration status and are eligible to intern at the Wilson Center.

The Wilson Center is not able to sponsor visas for interns. If you are an international student not already studying in the U.S. on a F-1 or J-1 visa, then you must go through a university exchange program or an outside organization that will sponsor your visa. You must have the appropriate visa to apply for this internship.

The Wilson Center is an equal opportunity employer and follows equal opportunity employment guidelines in the selection of interns.