Research Intern, Smart Cities and Digitalisation

Location : Home based
Application Deadline :25-Sep-20 (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 to 6 months

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.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


The Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development (GCTISD) is a joint initiative by the Government of Singapore and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to identify and co-create technological and innovative solutions to help countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals. We draw on the expertise of innovative talent in Singapore and around the world, and curate partnerships that will allow us to take this know-how to the places where it is needed most.

Our emerging areas of focus are Sustainable and Digital Agriculture, Smart Cities and Digitalisation, and Sustainable Finance. For each of our programmes we are connecting policymakers, practitioners, think tanks, leading private sector actors, entrepreneurs, civil society, and other stakeholders to build practical solutions that will create lasting impact through deep collaboration.



By 2050, nearly 70% of the world's population - an additional 2.5 billion people - will live in urban areas. This rapid urbanisation will bring in new economic opportunities but is also likely sharpen income disparities, greatly increasing the potential for social conflict. Hence, it is a global priority to build inclusive, liveable and sustainable urban areas – that is, smart cities.

Building on Singapore’s pioneering efforts, the Global Centre's smart cities and digitalisation programme focuses on Inclusivity, Sustainability and Adaptability. We have identified cities in Africa and Asia; working together with these cities and partners in Singapore and around the world, we provide technical expertise, knowledge transfer, insights and collaborations needed to drive sustainable smart city projects.   

The selected intern will be participating in high-impact projects for Governments from Asia-Pacific and African regions on the domains of digitalization, mobility, waste management and health.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Intern will be responsible for the following:

  • Thematic desk research and writing assignments (in line with Centre mandate);
  • Research and outreach for partnership development (including working with the team to build partnerships across governments, the private sector, civil society, and academia);
  • Event management support (in person and online);
  • Ad-hoc support to the GCTISD Director and staff.


Candidate should have the following competencies:

  • Self-starter; organised and reliable;
  • Able to multitask and balance multiple responsibilities;
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to draft original contents
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and sensitivity to differing opinions and views.

Required Skills and Experience

Interns are selected on a competitive basis. Applicants to UNDP internships must at the time of application meet one of the following academic requirements:

  • (a) Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
  • (b) Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
  • (c) Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above) and, if selected, must start the internship within one-year of graduation.
  • (d) be enrolled in a postgraduate professional traineeship program and undertake the internship as part of this program.


  • Preferable fields of study: Computer science and engineering; industrial design, political sciences, development studies, urban studies and smart cities, statistics, or data science.
  • Any specialisation in the domain of smart cities, innovation, or digitalisation is desirable.



  • Experience conducting desk research on smart city, innovation, or international development topics;
  • Experience in drafting policy briefs, or translating complex topics for senior stakeholders or decision-makers;
  • Experience in analysing and using quantitative data to inform decision-making;
  • Experience in the international development, sustainability and/or technology sectors is desirable;
  • Previous exposure to smart city projects, urban design initiatives, public sector working, or digital or innovation projects is desirable;
  • Familiarity with the challenges facing the international development and public sector is desirable;
  • Statistical, data science, or other data analysis skills are desirable;
  • Experience with using standard o\Office software applications


  • Excellent oral and written English language skills.
  • Other language skills are desirable.

***Note - As part of the application process answer 1 of the 3 questions below:

1) What do you think is going to be the most impactful technology for cities in low-or-lower middle income countries in the following decade, and why will this be the case?

2) Tell us about the use of a technology or innovation in a low-or-lower middle income country. What went well, what went less well (or what could have gone wrong) - Does not have to be a project you have worked, it can be one you've read/ heard about.

3) How do you think that innovation can help in achieving a more 'circular economy' in a city in a low-or lower-middle income country?

Conditions of internship:

Internships within the UN system are subject to following conditions, which the candidates should familiarize themselves with prior to applying:

  • Starting from January 2020 interns will receive stipends according to UN rules and regulations.
  • Any further costs associated with the internship must be borne by the nominating institution, related institution or government, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students; or by the student, who will have to obtain financing for subsistence and make his or her arrangements for travel, accommodation and other costs.
  • Costs for work-related local travel will be reimbursed as long as they have been cleared beforehand by the GCTISD Director. Costs for the daily commute are not reimbursable.
  • UNDP accepts no responsibility for the medical and life insurance of the intern or costs arising from accidents and illness incurred during an internship. The Intern must provide proof of enrolment in a health insurance plan;
  • UNDP does not provide assistance with travel and/or housing and the Intern will be responsible for obtaining the necessary visas and arranging travel to and from the duty station where the internship will be performed;
  • The purpose of the Internship Programme is not to lead to further employment within the UN System, but to complement an intern’s studies. Therefore, there should be no expectation of employment at the end of an internship. The Intern will not be eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, any post in UNDP during the period of internship or for the six months immediately following the expiration date thereof;
  • Interns will need to use their own laptop/notebook. A workstation with wireless internet access will be provided at the Centre’s facilities and supervisory support provided by the Centre staff;
  • Interns are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity.
  • UNDP only accepts interns for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 6 months.

Selected candidates must submit following documents prior to joining:

  • Letter from the university confirming current enrolment and graduation date;
  • Copy of passport/national ID card;
  • A copy of his/her school transcript;
  • Proof of medical insurance including provision for medical evacuation and removal of mortal remains or life insurance;
  • A signed UNDP Internship Agreement.

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