Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program :: Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

About the internship program Application information Summer Placements Notes from the field


About the Program

CU-Boulder has partnered with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCRCCC) to place graduate students in locations in eastern and southern Africa each summer. This collaborative program targets improvements in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making as well as disaster prevention and preparedness in the humanitarian sector. It connects humanitarian practitioners from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre – an affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – with graduate student researchers at the University of Colorado who are interested in science-policy issues. Through this program we strive to accomplish three key objectives:

  1. to improve the capacity of humanitarian practitioners within International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies network at the interface of science, policy and practice
  2. to help meet needs and gaps as well as work as a research clearing house in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making in response to climate variability and change, as identified through Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre priorities and projects
  3. to benefit graduate students by complementing the classes and research that they undertake in their graduate program with real-world experience in climate applications and development work

This program will place 1-2 Master’s degree and/or Ph.D. students in an IFRC regional field office, a National Society branch office, or with a partner organization for a period of approximately 3 months.

Students will design their own program of work in conjunction with CU-Boulder Co-directors Max Boykoff and Fernando Briones along with RCRCCC supervisors. The RCRCCC supervisors will liaise with specific IFRC field offices to identify potential projects and placements.  Projects can encompass, but are not limited to, topics such as the use of scientific information in decision making, communication of probability and uncertainty, perceptions of risk, and characterizing vulnerability and adaptive capacity.  Placements in the field will address specific needs identified by IFRC field staff related to challenges of science communication and adaptation decision-making.

Participants will be required to provide six blog posts from the field during this placement, give some presentations (e.g. in ENVS, in the CSTPR brownbag series) upon return, and complete a report at the conclusion of their fellowship detailing their experience and research outcomes.

Selected junior researchers will be provided with round-trip airfare to their field site, with travel to be organized through the University of Colorado. Junior researchers will also receive a stipend to offset costs of in-country housing, food, and transportation. In total, funding will be provided up to $5,000 to offset these expenses, which can vary widely depending on the location and nature of the placement. Due to this limited funding support, applicants are encouraged to seek additional funding from alternate sources, as expenses can exceed this budgeted amount, depending on the placements.

This CU-Boulder program has now worked for several summers in locations of eastern and southern Africa, and has placed these seven students in the following places:

• 2018 - Juhri Selamet (College of Media, Communication and Information, PhD), Mozambique
• 2017 - Katie Chambers (Environmental Engineering, PhD), Ethiopia
• 2016 - Sierra Gladfelter (Geography, MA), Zambia
• 2014 - Drew Zackary (Anthropology, PhD), Apac and Otuke, Uganda
• 2014 - Leslie Dodson (ATLAS, PhD), Lusaka, Zambia and Capetown, South Africa
• 2013 - Amy Quandt (ENVS, PhD), Isiolo, Kenya
• 2013 - Arielle Tozier de la Poterie (ENVS, PhD), Soroti, Uganda
• 2013 - Kanmani Venkateswaran (ENVS, MS), Lusaka, Zambia

Projects have involved topics such as analysis of uses of regional climate forecasts to trigger anticipatory humanitarian action, and examinations of ways to improve the linking of science-based forecasts with humanitarian decisions. More information on the specifics of all these placements and activities can be found here.

Help Support the Work of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre Program!
Donate to CU


Max Boykoff (Co-Director)
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies (CIRES)
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR)
Environmental Studies Program
Campus Box 488
tel: (303) 735-0451

Fernando Briones (Co-Director)
Research Associate
Consortium for Capacity Building (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research)
CIRES Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) Research Affiliate, University of Colorado

These fellowships are made available through support by the Environmental Studies program (ENVS), The Natural Hazards Center, The Graduate School and The Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR).