Health Grand Challenge Internships

Exploring Global Health Challenges

Students playing with childrenThe Health Grand Challenge (HGC) supports undergraduate internships that explore multidisciplinary aspects of global health and/or infectious disease. 

HGC offers:

Funding Information

Funded Health Grand Challenge Internships
  • Funding: All HGC internships come with a stipend intended to cover all essential living expenses plus travel to/from the internship site. Stipend levels vary depending on the internship location and duration.
  • Eligibility: Freshmen, sophomores and juniors currently enrolled at Princeton are eligible to apply to HGC internships. These internships are not open to graduating seniors, Princeton students on a leave of absence, or students at other universities.

How to Apply

Princeton students can apply to HGC internships using the university's Global Programs System (GPS), except where otherwise stated in the description below. For applications through GPS, click the button next to each internship description for details and instructions on how to apply. (If there is no button linking to GPS then the internship is not currently accepting applications.)

Key dates and deadlines:

  • Application open: Sept. 30, 2016
  • First round: Dec. 11, 2016
  • Second round (for positions still open after first round of selection): Mar. 15, 2017
  • Exceptions apply for Princeton-in-Asia internships.
Support for Unpaid Global Health Internships
  • Funding: The Health Grand Challenge (HGC) provides funding for unpaid internships that undergraduates identify independently.
  • Eligibility: Freshmen, sophomores and juniors currently enrolled at Princeton are eligible to apply for HGC internship grants. These internships are not open to graduating seniors, Princeton students on a leave of absence, or students at other universities.

How to Apply

For unpaid internship opportunities that relate to global health or infectious disease, students must apply through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Do NOT apply directly to the Health Grand Challenge / Center for Health and Wellbeing.

Application deadline: Apr. 23, 2017 (applications are reviewed on a rolling basis)


Available Internships

Health Grand Challenge Positions: Summer 2017

Note: This list of opportunities is subject to change.


Center for Health Policy Studies, Zhejiang University School of Medicine – China

The Center for Health Policy Studies specializes in the following research areas: mental health, health determinants and outcomes assessment, health economics and policy, family medicine and community health services. This internship exposes Princeton undergraduates to the challenge of data collection, analysis and research in field setting, and some summer projects may lead to senior theses. Past projects have focused on topics such as dementia care models, health insurance and maternal mortality.

Following basic field survey methods training, interns will design their own summer research projects and collect data in the practice base (including Lanxi County rural area and the urban Westlake District in Hangzhou) under the guidance of a Ph.D. student. They will then analyze their data and submit a written survey report on their research findings. Other intern responsibilities may include literature review, survey design and organizing interviews.

Applicants who have a basic knowledge of health and ability to communicate in Chinese are preferred. The internship will last for 8-10 weeks, with start and end dates to be determined.

View internship posting in GPS


Chronic Disease Research Institute, Zhejiang University School of Public Health - China

The Chronic Disease Research Institute (CDRI) at Zhejiang University School of Public Health is committed to conducting high-quality research on the prevention and treatment of obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other related chronic diseases. Currently, CDRI primarily aims to develop research on obesity and related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. Research at CDRI spans across many disciplines, including molecular biology, basic medicine, clinical medicine, epidemiology, health economics, biomedical engineering, nutrition and sports science research, etc. CDRI has also developed five research bases to support its research study.

Following a week designated for lab orientation and basic field survey methods training, interns will design their own summer research projects related to chronic diseases studies. For the remainder of the internship they will collect data in the practice base (Lanxi Cohort Research Base or Chronic Disease Intervention Base at Hangzhou Ziyang Community) under the guidance of a Ph.D. student, review the relevant literature, analyze their data, present their results and submit a written survey report.

Applicants should be able to communicate in Chinese, and those who have a basic knowledge of health or biology are strongly preferred. The internship will last for 8-10 weeks, with start and end dates to be determined.

View internship posting in GPS


Communities Health Africa Trust (CHAT) - Kenya

CHAT promotes healthy, empowered and self-sustainable living among poor and excluded communities in Kenya through the use of its integrated mobile health services. Its focus is providing access to family planning which combines ecological awareness; other services include reproductive health, basic curatives, relevant HIV/AIDS & TB services. It also works with community members to establish sustainable systems and enact positive social and environmental change. CHAT providers travel by car, camel, bicycle or on foot to bring services to hard-to-reach populations, and they partner closely with "community own resource persons" (CORPs). An intern with CHAT will assist with data analysis, monitoring, writing for research and fundraising efforts, mapping work, policy review, cooperation with local governments, and web/tech/social media needs. The intern will be based at Mpala Research Centre with periodic visits to CHAT's Nanyuki office and to the field to observe outreach activities. This internship lasts 10 weeks, starting in early June. 

View internship posting in GPS


Emzingo Global Impact Fellowship in Global Health - Lima, Peru and Johannesburg, South Africa

Emzingo's Global Impact Fellowship is a leadership and social impact program where students consult for nonprofits and social enterprises while undergoing an intensive leadership and personal development curriculum. Global Health Impact fellows in Peru or South Africa will be placed into teams of 3 or 4 students to assist health-related nonprofits and social impact startups solve a key strategic challenge, implement new programs, or conduct research. Emzingo will assist fellows to design and oversee the development of their projects, and each team will also be paired to a mentor with significant relevant knowledge in the field.

Past projects in South Africa have included developing a parental training program for parents of children with HIV/AIDS at a child hospice center, and creating a marketing and budgeting strategy for an HIV/AIDS and orphan and vulnerable children center in the townships. In Peru students will have the opportunity to work with nonprofits working for the prevention and control of Tuberculosis, social enterprises working to bring clean toilets and sanitation to underprivileged areas, or organizations working to help women suffering from physical and domestic abuse. Selected positions in Peru require fluency in Spanish. This internships lasts 8 weeks with start and end dates to be announced.

Instructions on how to apply will be posted in fall 2017.

Learn more about the program. 


Flourishing Futures - Mongolia

Flourishing Futures began in 2001 with a community center located in the heart of Mongolia's slum area called the ger district. Its goal was to meet the needs of the most impoverished families, targeting families who were about to lose their children to the streets of Ulaanbaatar. Flourishing Futures Community Center has had a tremendous positive impact in that community, and it opened a second center serving another impoverished ger district in 2014. Flourishing Futures works to challenge poverty by pulling away from larger projects and focusing on individuals with the method of "One Family At A Time", recognizing that poverty is different for each individual. Its focus on individual wholeness addresses physical, educational and emotional needs. Its work spans education, food security, shelter, medical and community development needs. Flourishing Futures also runs a summer camp for children at the local state-run orphanage.

Interns with Flourishing Futures will assist with its full range of activities while gaining exposure to the target population's public health and socioeconomic challenges. Responsibilities may include assisting social workers, assisting with the summer camp, teaching computer skills and volunteering in hospitals. Specific additional projects or tasks may be arranged depending on the intern's interest and skill set.

Applicants should be independent, flexible and adaptable, with a strong interest in learning about challenges faced by impoverished families. They should enjoy working with children and youth, and they must be able to live in a low-resource environment. This internship lasts 8 weeks, starting in early June and ending in late July.


Global Health Peru Program, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia - Lima, Peru

The Global Health Peru Program is a program offered by Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) School of Public Health and Administration, which educates, guides, and trains future researchers, teachers and leaders through innovation, collaboration and leadership. UPCH is currently the leading biomedical research university in Peru, and hosts the only School of Public Health in Peru.

The Global Health Research Experience pairs interns with a research project in pubic health and under the supervision of a faculty member from our school. Interns will experience hands-on, project-based experience with scientific research in an developing country. Existing research projects include increasing poor, pregnant women’s access to health systems, improving mechanisms of maternal and child health education through text messages, and reducing child morbidity and complications during pregnancy through the introduction of syphilis rapid testing.

Applicants should have a strong interest in public health and socioeconomic development. Additional desirable skills include basic biostatistics, scientific writing, and Spanish language skills.  Internships are a minimum of 8 weeks; longer engagement is desirable with start and end dates to be set in consultation with interns.

View internship posting in GPS


Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (IERPE) - Benin

Interns will serve as research assistants (RAs) at the Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (IERPE) in Cotonou, Benin. IERPE is one of the research institutes of the African School of Economics (ASE). They will assist in data collection and analysis for a project entitled "Improving Emergency Health Care in Benin” which seeks to analyse emergency healthcare (EHC) systems in that country. Benin faces many structural challenges in providing emergency healthcare to their citizens, rendering them unable to intervene with rapid coordinated responses. This research project presents two low-cost targeted solutions to improve EHC provision in Benin, with a potential for replication across the West African region. First, the project aims to document structural limitations to EHC in Benin, focusing on poor pre-hospital care and administrative organization. Second, it analyses the effects of these limitations on emergency care. Third, it proposes two experimental solutions. The first is an emergency care intervention using medical taxis to address the lack of pre-hospital transportation. The second is the installation of a centralized communication center to coordinate the existing EHC system. The project will measure the effect of the interventions on response times and access to emergency healthcare.

The internship may enable students to develop research topics for their junior papers and senior theses. 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. This internship lasts 8-9 weeks, with start and end dates to be determined.

View internship posting in GPS


International Care Ministries (ICM) - Philippines

International Care Ministries (ICM) has been serving the ultrapoor in the Philippines since 1992. In partnership with community leaders from thousands of slum communities, ICM delivers programs that transform the lives of more than 100,000 destitute people each year. These multidisciplinary interventions address values, health and livelihood. ICM is highly data-driven, and interns may assist in data collection, cleaning and analysis. Possible projects include: preparing frameworks for the revision of ICM's primary health education curriculum (includes qualitative assessment of feasibility and effectiveness in the field); regional epidemic mapping of health needs to assess the applicability of ICM's health training; assisting in development and revision of current health intervention protocols; and analysis and evaluation of ICM's overall data collection systems. Additional responsibilities may include writing or assistance with other program activities. This internship lasts 8-10 weeks, with start and end dates to be set in consultation with the intern.   

View internship posting in GPS


Lab of Translational Medicine, Zhejiang University School of Medicine – China

This lab conducts research on the molecular mechanism underlying stomach cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death in China. Interns will acquire basic laboratory skills and will assist with studies on gastric cancer. They will begin by learning bio-information analysis, which they will use to search for genes differentially expressed in gastric cancer tissues compared with their corresponding noncancerous tissues. Next the interns may participate in cloning one mRNA or long non-coding RNA. Then they will study basic cellular functions of the target gene and submit a written survey report, with research tasks to include literature review, experiments, data analysis and attending a weekly lab seminar. At the close of the internship students will visit Zhejiang University School of Medicine’s Department of Gastroenterology to learn the clinical features of stomach cancers.

Applicants should have basic knowledge and lab skills in molecular biology. No Chinese language skills are required. The internship will last for 8-10 weeks, with start and end dates to be determined.

View internship posting in GPS


Mpala Research Centre - Kenya

The Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation is located on the Laikipia Plateau in north central Kenya. The facility is operated as a partnership involving Princeton University, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the National Museums of Kenya. Mpala facilitates and exemplifies sustainable human-wildlife co-existence and the advancement of human livelihoods and quality of life. Interns at Mpala will work on research that relates to animal and human health. Past projects have included assistance with research on the epidemiology and vectors of trachoma, and a rabies vaccination campaign. This internship lasts 9-10 weeks, starting in early June. 

View internship posting in GPS


National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) - Uganda

National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) are regional- and country-level entities established to support evidence-informed decision-making in immunization programs and policies. This internship will provide support for NITAGs in the African region. Intern will contribute to evidence search and quality appraisal; duties may include summarizing and synthesizing literature reviews on topics related to immunization policy, as well as writing and analysis. This position will offer exposure to how research is applied to policy in a developing country setting. This internship lasts 9-10 weeks (with option to extend up to 12 weeks), with start and end dates to be determined.

View internship posting in GPS


Oxford University Clinical Research Unit - Vietnam

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. This internship lasts 9 weeks, starting in early June and ending in early August.

View internship posting in GPS


PLAY SOCCER Nonprofit International - Trenton, NJ / Ghana

PLAY SOCCER Nonprofit International (PSNI) is recruiting student interns to help implement, research and evaluate its development-through-sport program. The PSNI "Play for Fun, Learn for Life" program targets children and youth as agents of change through a well-defined curriculum that integrates health, social and soccer skills into activity-based education. The program has operated internationally in Africa since 2001 and since 2011 in the USA. The research entails developing assessment tools to evaluate the broad socio-economic and health impact of the PSNI program and organization as a complex community intervention.  In particular it will help assess the hypothesis that PSNI's physical curriculum and activity-based education constitute an important replicable community intervention to further health and wellbeing and prevent disease.   

Interns may be involved as instructors in the Play for Fun, Learn for Life program as well as with research design to assess the program’s impact. Interns may be placed in programs in the USA in Trenton, New Jersey or in Cape Coast, Ghana. In Ghana, interns may work with departments at Cape Coast University.  

Applicants should enjoy working with children and youth, and have a strong interest in: public health and socioeconomic development; theories of change; impact assessment, performance metrics and ideally, but not necessarily, in the sport of soccer. Internships are a minimum of 10 weeks; longer engagement is desirable with start and end dates to be set in consultation with interns.


State Key Lab of Infectious Diseases, 1st Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine – China

Zhejiang University School of Medicine’s 1st Affiliated Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in China, serving more than 100,000 inpatients and 3,500,000 outpatients annually. Its Department of Infectious Diseases and State key Lab of Infectious Diseases rank first in China for infectious disease research and treatment.

Interns at 1st Affiliated Hospital will learn about clinical research with a focus on infectious diseases. They are also encouraged to design their own surveys and collect clinical data under the guidance of a PhD student; this may connect to research topics for their junior papers and senior theses. The internship will include research on the basic mechanism of hepatitis or liver cancer in the State key Lab of Infectious Diseases, as well as visits to the Department of Infectious Diseases and the Liver transplantation Center.

Applicants who have a basic knowledge of medicine or biology are preferred. For projects involving surveys, applicants should be able to communicate in Chinese. The internship will last for 8-10 weeks, with start and end dates to be determined.

View internship posting in GPS


Telethon Kids Institute - Australia

Interns at Telethon Kids Institute - University of Western Australia Perth will assist with pragmatic intervention/clinical trials aimed at preventing and treating infectious diseases in children. A variety of projects are currently underway, and interns will focus on a particular area depending on their interests and skills. Current research includes understanding and eliminating barriers to vaccine uptake, clinical trials of empiric treatment strategies of gastroenteritis in Aboriginal children in remote settings, therapeutic trials for bronchiolitis in infants, and understanding and improving rotavirus vaccine efficacy in Aboriginal children. Interns may contribute to a range of research activities including study design and development, participant recruitment, data collection, management and interpretation of underlying immunological and microbiological mechanisms. Interested students should have a strong background in biological sciences as well as strong writing and analytical skills. Knowledge, experience or skills in the fields of infectious diseases, microbiology, immunology or biostatistics would be particularly useful. Interns should be able to work independently and a desire to translate research findings into clinically relevant practices. This internship lasts 8-10 weeks, with start and end dates to be set in consultation with the intern.

View internship posting in GPS


Princeton-in-Asia Positions Sponsored by the Health Grand Challenge

The positions below are offered through the Princeton-in-Asia internship program, with stipends provided by the Health Grand Challenge. They have a separate application deadline and require a different application. See Princeton-in-Asia website for details.

Population Services International (PSI) - Cambodia/Thailand/Kazakhstan
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, Thailand and Kazakhstan. 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.

The Health Grand Challenge is funded by the Woodrow Wilson School’s Center for Health and Wellbeing and by the Princeton Environmental Institute.

The Center for Health and Wellbeing administers the Health Grand Challenge.