Research and Development Intern

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

The Research and Development Team provides scientific and technical support to over 80 Oceans Program staff working in 12 geographies around the world to end overfishing and habitat damage from fishing, priority threats to food security, economic development, and ocean ecosystem health.  Team activities include research, tool development, and capacity building through trainings on data limited stock assessment, adaptive fisheries management in low governance contexts, small scale fisheries reform, ecosystem risk assessment, governance analysis, design of behavioral interventions to reduce illegal fishing and improve fisheries management, and ecosystem-based fisheries management. 

The intern?s role will be to choose a primary research topic that he/she will be responsible for completing during the summer that aligns with our strategic goals and also allows the intern to acquire desired skills and experience.  The intern will also conduct literature research and perform analyses to help us respond to queries from field staff, which cover a broad range of topics.  The intern will work with other Team members to respond to such queries, and participate in bi-weekly Team meetings to hear and provide updates on relevant projects. 

The intern will deliver a completed report describing his/her priority research project.  In cases that result in important new insights, we will seek to prepare manuscripts for publication in the peer-reviewed literature.  Brief memos, powerpoint presentations, and concept papers are also anticipated outputs of the internship.

The intern will be assigned to an EDF intern ambassador who will help the intern settle into the office and address any IT or other issues that may arise.  The intern is also welcome to participate in several intern events held during the summer, such as the annual picnic and field trip to Point Reyes National Seashore.  Mentorship will include an intake interview to discuss research interests, desired skills, and career aspirations and to choose a suitable priority research project.  The intern will prepare a workplan to be reviewed by the supervisor, and will participate in regular check in meetings to review progress and overcome challenges.  An exit interview and evaluation meeting will also be held.  The supervisor will also provide networking opportunities and letters of reference on request.

Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

Literature review.  Subject will depend on priority research project and queries from field staff, but will likely include fisheries assessment in low governance/low data contexts, behavioral science related to behavior change intervention, and adaptive management.

Work with Research and Development Team staff to assist with short-turnaround, urgent queries from field staff.

Participate in bi-weekly Team meetings.

Participate in seminars, lunches, and meetings to learn about other EDF programs and get to know what it?s like to work in a large international NGO setting.


Coursework and independent research experience in the following fields will be helpful: marine ecology, fisheries biology and management, behavioral sciences that relate to  facilitating decisions and actions that improve conservation and management outcomes.

Familiarity with excel, R, and other statistical packages will also be helpful.

Excellent research and writing skills are a must.

Good time management skills.

Proficiency in Spanish or another language a plus.

Ability to work independently and with other team members.