Research and internship opportunities

Under-graduate and post-graduate research projects, research internships, and research training

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Africa has rich biodiversity and cultural diversity, but also suffers from many deeply-coupled challenges affecting both human well-being and ecosystem integrity. This context creates a multitude of research questions that need urgent attention. However, the challenges of working in Africa make it difficult to match students with safe and suitable research opportunities.

The Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI) is a non-profit research organisation, staffed by academics, that provides opportunities for students to conduct research projects in South Africa. These projects cover a spectrum from basic biodiversity monitoring and pure ecology to social science, sustainable development, and applied ecology. These projects also cover a spectrum of study sites, from urban environments, to agricultural landscapes, to protected habitats. Our compendium of potential projects is available upon request (email director@thebdi.org), and novel projects can be developed with students and with their home supervisors.

Our goal is to facilitate research by developing rigorous research questions and projects, by providing expert supervision (covering field orientation, project development, data collection, data analysis, and research dissemination), by providing a safe research environment for students, and by assisting with logistics (transportation and accommodation).

The durations of projects and the level of independent work by the students can be matched to the requirements of the sending universities. An internship-type project might involve conducting a prescribed project and may include some independent side projects. A thesis-type project will be supervised but will rely on greater student independence. Our goal is to have such students publish their work in an open-access citizen-contributed journal (free to publish, free to read), present their findings to their peers, and create a poster summarising those findings for stakeholders.

Find out more about our research themes, our study sites, and associated logistics, or for more details on the specific projects, head to our intranet (login required, please contact director@thebdi.org). You can also send us an enquiry.