Health Grand Challenge Internships and Thesis Research Grants
The Health Grand Challenge (HGC) supports undergraduate internships and thesis research projects that explore multidisciplinary aspects of global health and/or infectious disease.
HGC offers established internship positions and provides funding for unpaid internships and thesis research projects that undergraduates identify independently.
Funding: All HGC internships come with a stipend to defray the cost of living expenses and international travel. Stipend levels vary depending on the internship location and duration. HGC thesis research grants are based on proposed project budgets.
Eligibility: Freshmen, sophomores and juniors currently enrolled at Princeton are eligible to apply to HGC internships. Rising or current Princeton seniors are eligible to apply for thesis research funds. These internships and research grants are not open to graduating seniors, Princeton students on a leave of absence, or students at other universities.
How to Apply for Internships*
- Review the position descriptions.
- Select up to three** positions (not including Princeton in Asia internships).
- For each position, prepare a single application document (PDF) with the following information:
- Name, PUID, department, class year and any certificate programs in which you are currently enrolled
- Position to which you wish to apply
- Statement of interest summarizing why you wish to apply to this position and how your interests, background and experience make you a good candidate (maximum of 2 pages)
- Submit the application document via email to email@example.com, using the subject header Health Grand Challenge internship application: [internship name].
- Submit a PDF version of your Undergraduate Academic Record (obtained from SCORE) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All applicants should receive a confirmation response upon submission of an application. If you do not receive this confirmation within 5 days of submitting your application, please send a follow-up message to confirm that your application has been received.
Application deadline: January 12th, 2014.*
*Princeton in Asia positions will have a separate deadline and require a different application process. See Princeton in Asia website for details. For the separate Special Opportunity listed below, follow application instructions in the posting.
**You can apply for a maximum of three (3) positions (not including positions with other Grand Challenges programs or with Princeton in Asia). You should prepare and submit a separate application document for each position.
How to Apply for Funding
For unpaid internship opportunities or thesis research projects that relate to global health or infectious disease:
All applications for funding in support of undergraduate activities including summer study abroad, internships (not counting paid employment), senior thesis research and junior independent work or special projects (including individual student travel to conferences) must be submitted through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE).
To apply for internship and/or thesis research funding, please submit an application through SAFE. Do NOT apply directly to the Health Grand Challenge / Center for Health and Wellbeing.
- Fall/winter thesis research funding: October 27, 2013
- Summer funding: March 2nd, 2014
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and early submission of applications is encouraged.
Health Grand Challenge Positions
Desmond Tutu TB Centre
The Desmond Tutu TB Centre is a research centre of Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Health Sciences in Cape Town, South Africa. It combines clinical grassroots investigations in tuberculosis with sophisticated laboratory research involving various departments and disciplines within and beyond the university campus, providing a launching pad for research projects that attract myriad international students and researchers. Its multidisciplinary collaborative clinical work translates into application, most notably impacting on TB as well as HIV/AIDS in children and infants. Two interns will assist the Desmond Tutu TB Centre with its website, publicity efforts, social media presence and other duties as assigned.
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is based in Cape Town, South Africa and is run in association with the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine. The Foundation operates community sites in greater Cape Town's Nyanga and Masiphumelele districts. Fusing a unique combination of academic expertise and social activism, the Foundation is involved in a number of initiatives including: provision of antiretroviral therapy; operating a free mobile HIV testing unit; research on adherence strategies, adherence monitoring, and HIV's interaction with tuberculosis; training and guidance of health care professionals; preparing communities for HIV vaccine clinical trials; providing adolescent HIV prevention; and improving women’s health. Internship responsibilities may include: enhancing the Foundation's website, maintaining and leveraging the Foundation's social media presence, updating newsletters and carrying out other marketing/publicity projects, data entry and cleaning, data analysis, literature review, and writing for reporting and fundraising purposes. Interns will have periodic opportunities to observe and assist with the Foundation’s community-based work.
Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (IERPE)
Interns will serve as research assistants (RAs) at the Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (IERPE) in Cotonou, Benin, on the program "Measuring Medical and Mental Health Outcomes in Colonial and Contemporary Benin". They will assist in data cleaning and analysis for two projects seeking to analyze the impact of education and colonial institutions on health. The internship may enable students to develop research topics for their junior papers and senior theses. The first project will examine the health outcomes of a first cohort of students who were randomly selected to attend the first seven Catholic and regional primary schools in colonial Benin. It will also assess health outcomes of the students’ family members, and surrounding community members. The second project will investigate the effect social mobility on the mental health of the descendants of the first generation of students who attended these schools in colonial Benin. Ideal interns will be concentrators in Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Politics or WWS; however, students from any department may apply. Applicants must have a basic knowledge of French; a basic knowledge of statistical analysis is strongly preferred.
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) aims to have a positive and significant impact on global health and, in particular, the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. OUCRU's key areas of research are: Dengue fever; malaria; tuberculosis; influenza; enterics; HIV and HIV coinfection; central nervous system infections; animal health and zoonoses; pharmacology; and statistics, bioinformatics, modeling, and mapping. Projects carried out through this internship will address multidisciplinary aspects of infectious disease in clinical and/or field research settings. Past interns have conducted research on Japanese Encephalitis Virus, wastewater treatment systems, and the cost of illness associated with Typhoid fever. Specific responsibilities will be based on each intern’s skills and on project needs at the time of the internship. Typical tasks may include: data collection, data analysis, literature review, policy research, and writing for reporting purposes.
Population Services International (PSI)
Population Services International (PSI) is an international NGO that works to improve the health of vulnerable populations through social marketing of family planning and health products thus engaging private sector resources and techniques. This position requires strong communication and research skills. Responsibilities may include: writing reports, conducting background research, and entering and/or analyzing data. Interns at other PSI offices have done projects such as: analyzing data from a pricing survey for a new oral contraceptive pill, and writing a qualitative report on health-seeking behaviors of mothers with children under the age of five who had diarrhea or pneumonia. Applicants must have French language skills.
Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School’s HIV/AIDS Program
The Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School’s HIV/AIDS Program consists of three areas of concentration: 1) a busy HIV testing program, 2) a research program that focuses on clinical studies among HIV-infected persons a well as HIV prevention trials in uninfected individuals, and 3) a high-quality, high-volume comprehensive HIV practice housed within the Division of Infectious Diseases. The program integrates cutting-edge activities across these three areas. The program conducts a range of innovative and collaborative community and clinical interventions across a broad spectrum of topic areas, with research partners based throughout the U.S. An intern with the HIV/AIDS program will assist with clinical and public health research projects, participate in community outreach, and document program activities and progress. Task areas may include retrospective chart reviews, data cleaning and analysis, literature reviews, and assistance with surveys and questionnaires. There may also be the opportunity for independent research.
How to apply
Special opportunity: Exploring the Global Seasonality of Meningitis and Pertussis
An opportunity is available for 1-2 students who are interested in pursuing research to investigate the global seasonality of infectious diseases working with Dr. Nicole Basta in the EEB Department.
One project will focus on bacterial meningitis, a disease that exhibits strong seasonality in the African meningitis belt. Little is known about the seasonal patterns of meningitis in other parts of the world or which factors might drive these temporal trends.
The second project will focus on pertussis, a bacterial infection that has created a significant public health burden in many regions of the world despite many years of routine vaccination. Again, many questions remain about seasonal drivers of this infection.
To explore the seasonality of these diseases more fully, the students will build a dataset of meningitis or pertussis time series data from as a many countries as possible, drawing upon published data, contacts in Ministries of Health, and online reports. The students will analyze the data sets they have developed to investigate seasonal trends and to assess the global dynamics of the disease specifically with respect to potential environmental drivers.
Students will have the opportunity to spend the summer of 2014 working with Dr. Helene Broutin at the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) Center in Montpellier, South of France, to develop the dataset before returning to Princeton to conduct the analysis during the 2014-2015 academic year. Dr. Broutin is a researcher at the Centre National pour la recherche Scientifique in Ecology of infectious diseases (MIVEGEC lab: http://www.mivegec.ird.fr) and has published widely on the seasonality and dynamics of diseases.
Interested students should have a strong background in statistics and, ideally, experience programming/ data management/ analysis in R, Stata, SAS, or another program, an ability to work independently and efficiently, and a desire to understand the ecology of infectious disease. Sophomores preferred, but freshmen and juniors are also welcome to apply.
If interested in this opportunity, please send a CV and a paragraph indicating background and experience to email@example.com.
Princeton-in-Asia Positions sponsored by the Health Grand Challenge
The positions below are likely to be offered through the Princeton-in-Asia internship program, with stipends provided by the Health Grand Challenge. They will have a separate application deadline and require a different application. See Princeton-in-Asia website for details; internships will be posted in mid- to late January.
Population Services International (PSI)
Population Services International (PSI) is an international NGO that works to improve the health of vulnerable populations through social marketing of family planning and health products thus engaging private sector resources and techniques. This position requires the combined skills of a solid researcher and someone with a very strong communications background. Responsibilities will include data analysis, research and survey work. Past projects have included: creation and analysis of data from a pricing survey for a new oral contraceptive pill, and writing a qualitative report on health-seeking behaviors of mothers with children under the age of five who had diarrhea or pneumonia. Possible internship locations include PSI offices in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
This position is offered through Princeton-in-Asia.
The Grand Challenges Program is a collaboration involving the Princeton Environmental Institute, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS). WWS’s Center for Health and Wellbeing (CHW) administers the Health Grand Challenge.