Elcano internship programme for masters and final-year undergraduate students

One of the objectives of the Elcano Royal Institute is to promote knowledge of international affairs and Spanish international relations among society by providing a hub for analysis and for generating ideas that can be used by political decision makers, leaders of private companies, public institutions, society and academia.

In response to growing demand from Spanish, European and international universities, over the last few years, the Elcano Royal Institute has run an internship programme for university students. Placements are primarily designed for postgraduate students interested gaining experience working in the Elcano office in Madrid or our branch in Brussels, either as part of their degree or in an extracurricular capacity  

 Programme objectives

  Complement the education and training of students

  Develop professional skills in analysis, research and communications in the field of international relations

  Allow participants to gain first-hand experience of working at a think tank and participating in its main activities.

Programme structure

The internships are external academic placements at the Elcano office in Madrid or our branch in Brussels, either as part of a degree programme or in an extracurricular capacity. Placements are primarily focused on masters and final-year undergraduate students. They form part of education cooperation agreements signed between the Elcano Royal Institute and a wide range of Spanish, European and international universities. 

The internships can be in any of the geographical or thematic areas in which the Institute works, including the European Union and Eurasia, Latin America, the United States and Canada, Asia-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, energy and climate, security and defence, development cooperation, migration, the image of Spain, the prevention of violent radicalisation and global terrorism.

Interns will be mentored by a member of the Institute’s research staff and will have the chance to get involved in current research projects and activities, including tasks related to the different aspects of the Institute’s work. As well as allowing students to attend a number of expert meetings and public activities, the placements will also build their capacity for analysis and critical thought, providing research assistance based on their level of knowledge and skills. They will also have the opportunity to publish a rigorous and high-quality piece of analysis on the Elcano blog, alongside the Institute’s other authors and guest firms.  

Participating universities

  1. Complutense University of Madrid (UCM)
  2. Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
  3. Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM)
  4. Diplomatic School of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation
  5. José Ortega y Gasset – Gregorio Marañón Foundation (FOM)
  6. University Carlos III of Madrid 
  7. Antonio de Nebrija University (UANE)
  8. San Pablo-CEU University
  9. University of Salamanca
  10. University of Valencia 
  11. International University of La Rioja (UNIR)
  12. Comillas Pontifical University ICAI-ICADE
  13. IE Business School (IE)
  14. University of Castile–La Mancha (UCLM)
  15. University of Bologna
  16. International University of Andalusia
  17. King Juan Carlos University (URJC)
  18. Camilo José Cela University 
  19. University of Valladolid (UVA)
  20. Pompeu Fabra University (UPF)
  21. Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI)
  22. Universidad Europea (Madrid–Valencia–Canaries)
  23. Francisco de Vitoria University (UFV)
  24. Atlantic Institute of Government
  25. University of Mannheim
  26. University of Lancaster
  27. Center for European Studies at Harvard University
  28. University of Bristol
  29. University of Saint Louis
  30. University of Navarra
  31. ESADE
  32. University of Durham
  33. Johns Hopkins University Bologna 
  34. University of Chicago

Universities interested in signing an education cooperation agreement with the Elcano Royal Institute should contact

Availability of internships

A total of 20 placements will be offered over the 2022/23 academic year.

Duration of placements 

Internships have a maximum duration of 400 hours and are structured in three-month periods throughout the year (excluding August).  

Remote working and COVID-19

Although placements normally take place in the Elcano offices, since March 2020 they have been moved online in response to the pandemic.  In-person placements will return as soon as possible.

Eligibility and requirements 

Minimum requirements for candidates:

 Currently studying for a masters at a public or private university, or in the final year of an undergraduate degree

  Advanced Spanish (preferably C1–C2)

  Advanced English (preferably C1–C2)

  Knowledge of and interest in international relations           

The internships at the Elcano Royal Institute are governed by the agreements signed with the universities. Under no circumstances will they constitute any form of employment or replace work undertaken as part of normal jobs. 

Selection process

The Elcano Royal Institute provide the universities with which it has signed education cooperation agreements with a description of available placements, including details of the required student profiles.

Universities can then select up to four candidates for each post and send their CVs to Elcano. 

Elcano will draw up a short list of the students who best fit the profile of the placement. The Institute will then directly contact the candidates on the short list for the final round of the selection process, which will include a personal interview.

All successful candidates who undertake placements at Elcano must sign the individual annex that forms part of the education cooperation agreement with their university.