Intern, Economics, University of Chicago

Internships Washington, District of Columbia


Position at World Resources Institute

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

Internships at WRI are learning experiences designed for current students, recent graduates, or other candidates who wish to gain knowledge about a specific area of our work. We strive to attract diverse, intellectually-driven candidates who have a passion for sustainability and development. WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all our programs.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. 

Economics Center Overview

WRI’s Economics Center provides expertise to WRI’s program work across climate change, clean energy, forests, water, food, and sustainable cities. With our expertise, WRI provides a better understanding of the value that our climate and ecosystems provide to the economy. We use an economics lens to analyze problems and solutions at the intersection of environment and human well-being.  We conduct in-depth economic assessments of the value of climate mitigation and clean energy investments, ecosystem services, the impact of climate vulnerability for communities and their livelihoods and more. We develop tools and guidance to help decision-makers understand the economic and social trade-offs of investing in and protecting natural resources.

Internship Summary

WRI’s Economics Center is seeking to bring on an intern who will play an integral role in conducting research on establishing values around ecosystem services (e.g. economic and social benefits, jobs, rural incomes). The work aims to ensure better-informed policy and investment decisions around the use and conservation of natural resources, by bringing to light the value of the economic benefits provided by these ecosystem services. Additionally, you will work with other economists at the Center and have the opportunity to work on one or more ground-breaking projects related to economic assessment of restoring degraded agricultural or forest landscapes, climate mitigation and adaptation impacts, as well as clean energy investments in different geographical contexts.

You will also gain insights on WRI’s in-country work. Specific activities will include research, data analysis, economic and financial analysis of policies and programs designed to improve terrestrial and marine ecosystems, improve the climate system, reduce energy use and scale up renewable energy. Examples of likely projects include: assessing the policy incentives and subsidies to support and finance land restoration at scale; developing a framework for evaluating the socio-economic impacts of policy interventions in India and Indonesia; evaluating economic benefits and costs of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, among others.  In addition, you will provide fundraising efforts, coordination of work across the Economics Center and other WRI programs and centers.

Learning Outcomes

The intern will gain experience in the following areas:                                                               

Ecosystem, climate, energy-related research, data collection, analysis, and strategic communications (50%)

  • Conducting research on various topics related to ecosystem services, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and clean energy
  • Conducting literature reviews and reviewing publications
  • Writing case studies, memos, and blogs
  • Assisting in collecting, organizing and analyzing data and creating data visualizations
  • Editing/proofreading and supporting online communications
  • Developing outreach materials
  • Assisting with media research

Supporting the Economics Center fundraising (30%)

  • Assisting in the development of funding proposals
  • Reviewing funding proposals
  • Conducting research related to fundraising

Administrative and general support of Economics Center activities (20%)

  • Providing general administrative support
  • Working with other WRI teams to implement cross-WRI initiatives
  • Scheduling and attending meetings, managing other collaborative activities with WRI staff, partners, and external organizations
  • Supporting project management and development

Internship Qualifications

  • University-sponsored: You must be a current student in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago
  • Degree preferred: Working towards or completed Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. Preference for the following fields:  Economics, Public Policy, Data Science, Business Administration/Finance, Environmental Studies, or other related degrees
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Strong quantitative analysis skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently as well as part of a team
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Familiarity and experience with data analysis and visualization tools/software
  • Ability to work calmly and enthusiastically under high pressure
  • Flexible, responsible, and self-motivated
  • Extremely well organized and efficient

General Internship Requirements

  • Applicants must have personal health insurance coverage.
  • U.S. work authorization is required for this opportunity. WRI does not sponsor interns for visas.

Compensation: University Sponsored: This position is dependent on the student receiving compensation or academic credit from their university program. WRI does not offer compensation for this internship.

Duration: This is a full-time, 12-week summer internship with start date options of May 16, June 3, or June 17, 2019, based on the student’s availability and need for the project.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.