The 15 best internship programmes for marine sciences students

Have you finished your degree and want to get into the job market?

An internship in a recognised organisation may be the best way to put into practise all you have learnt at university and prepare yourself for the first qualified job.  In this post, we have collected a number of opportunities from key international and European organisations to develop your skills and knowledge on marine sciences. Get to learn from the best institutions and start filling your CV!

1. Blue Book European Commission

Twice a year, the Commission offers 5-month paid traineeships in its Directorate-Generals, agencies and bodies. Trainees work all over the European Commission, its services and agencies, mostly in Brussels, but also in Luxembourg and elsewhere across the European Union. It´s not exclusively for students/graduates in marine sciences, but you can get to work in environmental policies and European maritime strategies, for example, in the European Environmental Agency.


2. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

The Internship Programme provides selected students, enrolled in an under-graduate or post-graduate degree programme or recent graduates, with the opportunity to supplement their academic knowledge with a practical work experience in a field related to the work of FAO. It will enable them to gain a better understanding of FAO’s mandate and programmes. At the same time, the Programme provides FAO with the assistance of qualified individuals specializing in relevant fields in connection to FAO Strategic Objectives and to UN Sustainable Development Goals. If you are into fisheries and aquaculture, this is your opportunity!


3. International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

IRENA’s internship programme provides an opportunity for graduate and/or university students from diverse academic backgrounds to enhance their educational experience through practical work assignments. It allows selected candidates to gain direct exposure and insight into the work of the Agency and provides a learning opportunity in various professional fields. Internship duration is normally between two and six months.


4. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

The EEB is the largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations in Europe. It currently consists of over 170 member organisations in more than 35 countries (all EU Member States plus some accession and neighbouring countries), including a growing number of European networks, and representing some 30 million individual members and supporters. Opportunities to take part in paid internships are sometimes available.


5. British Antarctic Survey (BAS)

Our investment in Britain’s future scientific talent takes several forms.  We work in partnership with leading UK institutions, science centres, museums and schools to develop formal and informal learning resources. Many of our science and support teams are STEM Ambassadors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Note: according to their website, non-UK students/graduates are also eligible for remuneration.


6. The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN)

The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) is a Research Infrastructure (RI) labelled by the ICTS (Unique Scientific and Technological Infrastructure) Spanish National Roadmap, co-funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of the Spanish government and the Canary Islands government and by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Operational Programme of the Canary Islands. To achieve its multidisciplinary objectives and to develop them with synergies, PLOCAN’s organization is a model based on three functional areas: Scientific-technical, Socio-economic, and Economic-administrative.


7. Marine Institute Ireland

The Marine Institute was set up under the Marine Institute Act 1991: “to undertake, to coordinate, to promote and to assist in marine research and development and to provide such services related to research and development, that in the opinion of the Institute, will promote economic development and create employment and protect the marine environment.” There are several paid internship programmes, don´t miss it out!


8. European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)

Established in 2003, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd is the world’s first and leading facility for demonstrating and testing wave and tidal energy converters – technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams – in the sea. They usually identify internships early in the year with placements taking place over the summer for approximately three months – applications for 2021 have closed.


9. European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)

The traineeship programme is addressed mainly to recent university graduates. The traineeship programme aims to provide trainees with work experience in the field of maritime safety legislation, response to pollution at sea and cooperation among member states in safety at sea matters. In-service training enables trainees to acquire practical experience by means of their work and put into practice the knowledge they have acquired during their academic studies or professional careers in the areas of maritime safety, communication or administration.


10. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of more than 18,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. It doesn’t have a specific internship programme, so you should regularly check the vacancies section and search for internships!


11. Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR)

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions brings together more than 150 Regions from 24 States from the European Union and beyond. It focuses mainly on social, economic and territorial  cohesion, maritime policies and blue growth, and  accessibility. European governance, energy and climate change, neighbourhood and development also represent important areas of activity for the association. It doesn’t have a specific internship programme, so you should regularly check the vacancies section and search for internships!


12. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)

VLIZ provides the opportunity to do an internship or write a thesis on a coastal and marine scientific subject within the scope of training. Student employees are also encouraged to participate in VLIZ for a month. Thematic of the thesis or the internship: fisheries, plankton, microplastics, algal blooms, offshore wind resources, etc.


13. Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)

The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean offers challenging opportunities to have an experience in an International Organisation that will enrich your personal and professional career. The UfM Secretariat offers several opportunities for young graduate and postgraduate students or recently graduated candidates. Have a look at their Water, Environment and Blue Economy Division!


14. Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine resources in the Southern Ocean. The Secretariat provides occasional international internships on technical and scientific subjects are open for application from any person who is a citizen of a Member of the Commission. International internship opportunities will be advertised on their page.


15. Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO)

The Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) was founded in 1999 by directors of oceanographic institutions around the world as a forum to promote and advance the observation of the global ocean.  POGO is a UK-registered charity with member institutions from around the world, and works closely with other international and regional programmes and organisations.


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