The Global Center on Adaptation actively supports students and young professionals to become leaders in climate change adaptation. As part of our commitment to build on, improve, and deliver breakthrough climate adaptation solutions, we have established two challenging programs for university graduates and young professionals, who are committed to make a difference: the Young Leaders Program and the 20/20 Adaptation Professionals Program

Think bold and take action through our internship program

The Global Center on Adaptation offers internships through its Young Leaders Program. Young Leaders work with our team on issues surrounding a new global climate adaptation agenda. Interns contribute to our policy, advocacy, and research efforts that help societies across the world become more resilient to climate-related threats.

The internship takes place in the Netherlands at the premises of the Global Center on Adaptation, in Rotterdam and/or in Groningen. During the Program, Young Leaders work independently and with a team of experts on different assignments in an international and diverse environment.

A tailored educational experience

Each Young Leader receives an individual assignment matched with their existing skills and expertise. Young Leaders are individually responsible for the timely completion of their assignments, with the support of supervisors. All assignments are designed to support our vision and mission.

Young Leaders can expect to enhance their understanding of climate change adaptation, and what it takes to drive forward a new global agenda. They gain experiences that enable them to consider a wide range of perspectives and connect different points of view, and develop interpersonal and leadership skills that are essential for excelling in challenging international environments.


Take a look at what our previous Young Leaders have to say about the Program:

Imogen Jacques

Imogen Jacques

United Kingdom

MSc in Geography of Environmental Risk and Human Security,

United Nations University, Bonn

January – May 2019

During my time on the Young Leaders Program, I was exposed to countless experiences that have enhanced my working understanding of climate adaptation. I was based in the Rotterdam office under the Director of Policy and Strategy, but became quickly immersed in the whole team, which gave me the chance to contribute to various areas of work at the Center and the Global Commission. This flexibility allowed me to engage with different people from a range of impressive backgrounds and learn from their expertise and constructive feedback.

My internship coincided with the preparation of the Commission Report, which allowed me to witness the evolution of this process. I found this particularly interesting, not only because the Report considers a wide range of climate adaptation challenges, but also because of the complex and multifaceted nature of organizing a report of this stature.

I believe that this experience has given me important insights into the workings of a high-level commission and I am now more confident in my ability to work in the area of climate adaptation. I have learned a lot about myself both professionally and personally, and I look forward to using these new skills as I grow into my role as Project Assistant at the Center.


The Young Leaders Program is open to all candidates currently enrolled in a graduate program from a variety of fields in the social sciences and life sciences.

To be eligible for an internship, candidates must:

  • Have an undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent)
  • Be enrolled in a graduate study program (pursuing a Master’s or PhD) or have graduated within 6 months of application
  • Have a solid understanding of international development and climate change adaptation issues
  • Have demonstrable leadership potential
  • Be fluent in English. Additional knowledge of other languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese is desirable.

We value diversity in our workplace and encourage all qualified individuals with a diverse professional and academic background, particularly women, to apply. Our aim is to attract and recruit the best talent from any region in the world.


The Global Center on Adaptation provides a monthly compensation, determined by interns’ country of residence. Travel expenses related to program activities are reimbursed, except to and from The Netherlands.

IMPORTANT: Interns are entirely responsible for their own living costs such as accommodation, health insurance and visa, if applicable.


The Young Leaders Program is currently open for applications for the period of January – April 2020.

Deadline for applying is October 20th, 2019, 21:00 (CET). The Selection Committee aims to communicate whether applicants are through to the next round by November 8th, 2019.

Please apply via our form here. Only complete applications submitted with this form will be considered.

Please note that applicants will receive an answer to their application within six weeks of the submission date. Applicants may be invited for an interview (also possible via Skype). Unsuccessful applicants will receive an email notification after a final selection has been made. Candidates may re-apply as long as they still meet the eligibility requirements.

For questions regarding the application procedure, please contact:

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