Intern: Energy Research

Application Deadline :31-May-13 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Internship
Post Level :Intern
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Expected Duration of Assignment :3 months


UNDP’s development efforts are defined by the Strategic Plan: 2008-2013, which has established four developments, focus areas: (i) poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs, (ii) democratic governance, (iii) crisis prevention and post-conflict recovery, and (iv) Environment and sustainable development. The “Environment and Sustainable

Development” focus area consists of four key result areas, which are:
  • Mainstreaming environment and energy,
  • Mobilizing environmental finance,
  • Promoting adaptation to climate change, and
  • Expanding access to environmental and energy services for the poor.
Access to modern energy services is fundamental for poverty reduction and sustainable development.  Living without modern energy services will significantly compromise progress towards MDGs, including those relating to child and maternal survival, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental sustainability. Indeed, none of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be met without increasing access to energy services in developing countries.  Yet, to-date, there are 2.5 billion people who are still dependent on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, while 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity.
Ensuring access to modern energy services to meet the poor’s basic development needs must be a top priority. Specific modern energy services to meet the poor’s basic development needs include modern fuels/devices for cooking; household electricity for illumination and communications; electricity for health clinics, schools, and public lighting systems/communications; Mechanical power for basic agricultural/food processing and water pumping; and energy for cottage/village micro-enterprises.
UNDP’s Sustainable Energy Programme (SEP) at the Environment and Energy Group works towards ensuring coherency in UNDP policy as well as operational orientation in energy at the national, regional and global levels and conducts evidence-based analysis, policy and programme advisory services and global advocacy.  UNDP energy activities are linked to the all four key result areas of the Environment and Sustainable Development focus in UNDP’s Strategic Plan for 2008-2013.  The Sustainable Energy Programme provides leadership in orienting UNDP efforts to mainstream energy access considerations into national development strategies, expand financing options for energy access, and developing local capacity for decentralized energy service delivery for the poor.  The SEP team coordinates UNDP’s energy activities and works toward ensuring coherency in UNDP policy tools and operational activities in energy at the national, regional and global levels.
As the work of UNDP and the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (S4ALL) initiative has expanded ever rapidly since the inception of the initiative in 2012, it has become essential to produce a number of knowledge management and communications material on UNDP and SE4ALL. UNDP contributes to SE4ALL goals by developing capacity of partner countries to design and implement robust policy reforms and responses, enabling regulatory environments, well-functioning institutions, attractive investment climates, effective business models, finance facilitation, sub-national service delivery mechanisms, and monitoring and evaluation systems. 
In addition, UNDP has been tasked to take the lead in advancing the “bottom-up” energy agenda within the SE4ALL partnership, working with multiple partners to support the objectives of SE4ALL, including scaling up decentralized, off-grid and mini-grid energy solutions aimed at poverty reduction, policy, regulatory and institutional reforms and sector-specific market transformation efforts.

Duties and Responsibilities

The research intern will work on updating UNDP’s Energy Portfolio analysis from 2011. This will primarily involve combing through large datasets and doing large scale data extraction and analysis. Another element of work will also involve data verification and calling Regional and Country Offices to seek additional project information.
The responsibilities of the intern will encompass the following: 

  • Analysis of UNDP Energy Portfolio
  • Assisting project manager in updating UNDP energy portfolio with additional project information and figures.
  • Data verification. She or he will help verify projects captured in the database are in fact energy projects.
  • Improve spread sheet so that information such as country count, funding sources are easily identifiable. This will also entail categorizing and separating funding sources in the database.
  • Project documentation research. This includes searching for existing project summaries, project documents and fact sheets that are on Country office page. It will include liaising with regional service centres, global energy team counterparts, and environment & energy focal points in country offices to verify data on energy related projects. This will sometimes require follow up of emails or by telephone.
  • Producing a summary document and PowerPoint presentation illustrating results of the analysis
Other potential responsibilities:
  • Assist with organizing conference, meetings, and other energy related events
  • Assist with developing energy case studies in different areas of our work and produce write ups.


  • Excellent ability to synthesize large amounts of raw data, extract trends and package data into a comprehensive and understandable manner. Demonstrated experience with large data sets is required.
  • Knowledge on energy or off grid energy technologies in developing countries is an advantage.
  • Strong research, analytical and writing abilities.
  • Advanced knowledge of Excel is required, experience with STATA or SPSS is advantageous.
  • Excellent demonstrated ability to work under tight deadlines in an independent working environment.
  • Demonstrates skills to also work well as part of a team.
  • Demonstrates good oral and written communication skills; fluency in English, both written and oral, is required. Fluency in French or Spanish is advantageous.

Required Skills and Experience

General Eligibility:
  • Must be enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school (masters level or above).
  • Completed at least four years of full time studies at a university or equivalent.
  • Has not graduated prior to the beginning of the internship.
Specific Education and Work Experience:
  • Current graduate students in Economics with interest in environment /energy issues or graduate students in economics, public policy, environment/energy, international affairs with some communications experience.
  • Some relevant work or internship experience related to environment and energy, etc.
Financial Aspects:
Interns are not financially remunerated by UNDP. All costs connected with an intern's participation in the Programme must be borne by:
  • The nominating institution, related institution or government, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students;
  • The student, who will have to obtain financing for subsistence and make his/her own arrangements for travel (including to and from the office), visas, accommodation, insurance, etc as necessary.

Candidates who are shortlisted for an interview must submit prior to the interview the following documents:

  • Official letter from the University confirming enrollment in a graduate-level degree programme;
  • Have a valid visa to work in the US;
  • Letter of endorsement from a faculty member who has worked with the student in the recent past and who is knowledgeable on the student’s performance;
  • Complete and sign the “Application Form” which is available at
  • UNDP only accepts interns for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 6 months.
Status of an Intern:
Interns are considered gratis personnel. They are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity. The purpose of the Internship Programme is not to lead to further employment with UNDP but to complement an intern’s studies. Therefore, there should be no expectation of employment at the end of an internship. Interns cannot apply for posts during the period of internship. There must be minimum 3 months break after internship before any type of UNDP contract is signed.

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UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

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