Master your research.
Get published.

Research fellowships

4–24 weeks

5 reasons research fellowships are for you

1
Contribute to research
abroad and get published
2
Complete your thesis
or dissertation
3
Get guidance from
expert supervisors
4
Gain access to
data sets
5
Live on a remote
research station
Kaitlyn
Participant Testimonial
Benedict
Participant Testimonial
Cited 1000+times on

Benefits
FAQs

Benefits of joining a research fellowship

 

Meet your academic requirements

Research fellowships make it easy to collect the data you need to complete your thesis, dissertation or research paper. Thanks to our academic support staff, expert local staff and remote internship supervisors, you’ll be supported all the way through your research fellowship: before, during and after your program. 

GVI has been working in the conservation and sustainable development space for over twenty years. We have decades of expertise in facilitating research expeditions, as well as hundreds of programs and research topics for you to choose from. And our enrolment staff are on hand to make sure you select the perfect topic to match your research goals and academic requirements. 

Once you’ve been matched with your topic and program, our support and academic support staff will make sure you have everything you need until you’ve wrapped up your data collection and are ready to get started with writing your thesis. 

 

Remote research fellowships supervisor

GVI’s research fellowships are conducted outside of a traditional university setting. Our in-field research-based internships involve hands-on practical work. Although you probably already have a university supervisor overseeing your thesis work, you’ll need support on the program and an understanding of how your thesis research fits into the research fellowship program that you join. 

So, if you’re looking to complete your dissertation abroad, you can rest assured, knowing we’ve got you covered. When you join one of our research fellowships, you’ll be paired with a remote research fellowship supervisor. Your remote research fellowship supervisor will guide you on your research, methodology and data collection.

If you’re doing conservation research on, say, predator kill preferences in a South African reserve, you might study the leopard slinking across the safari plains of Limpopo hunting for its prey, the slender antelope. 

On a wildlife conservation internship like this one, you might be paired with a remote research fellowship supervisor with research experience in statistics, spatial analysis, spreadsheet modelling, satellite image processing, remote sensing, as well as using geographic information systems like ArcGIS, IDRISI and QGIS. Your remote internship supervisor will also guide you on how to use other forms of research methodologies like interviews, surveys and data analysis.

Your remote research fellowship supervisor will have sample research topics and data sets ready for you. And, if you’re worried about your research fitting into one of our programs, your remote research fellowship supervisor will be able to pre-approve your research topic during your enrolment process with us and even suggest alternative topics or locations to carry out your internship.

 

Add to your academic qualifications

When you join one of GVI’s international research fellowships you’ll boost your academic and professional development with our pre-program, online leadership course and a specialisation course in wildlife conservation, marine conservation or community development. 

And, you can add to your academic qualifications even further by completing GVI’s post-program Careers in Sustainable Development online course. All of our online courses are accredited by the University of Richmond and are offered at no extra cost to your standard program fee. 

The best part is that once you’ve successfully completed your research fellowship, you’ll have four weeks to complete your post-program online course. And, if you successfully complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to add to your resume. 

 

Remote career mentor

GVI’s research fellowships have a lot to offer, but how do you prepare for your future once you’ve completed your internship? GVI will assign a remote career mentor to you, and you’ll have access to two online mentor sessions. 

Your career mentor will assist you with preparing for your future career by:
  • giving you feedback on your CV
  • assisting you with communicating your GVI experience on LinkedIn and your CV
  • helping you to practise for interviews
  • assisting you in mapping out your career goals
  • providing advice on job searching
  • giving you general career advice.

 

So, after you’ve completed your research fellowship, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to begin a successful career in the industry.

 

Receive a professional reference

With a completed research fellowship and your future career plan under your belt, all you’ll need is one more boost to add to your resume. 

Your remote research fellowship supervisor will give you a professional reference to impress your future employers. This reference will highlight what you learnt on the program and outline the skills you developed during your internship. They will also add a summary of this reference to your LinkedIn profile, along with an endorsement of relevant skills.

 

Job guarantee

Job hunting has never been this easy. GVI’s research fellowships offer all qualifying interns a job guarantee in the sustainable development industry within 18 months of successfully completing a 6-month program.  

We’re so confident you’ll land a job in the sector after your internship with us that we promise to give you a 50% refund of your program fee if you don’t. 

After successfully completing one of our research fellowships, you’ll also become an alum of GVI. This means you’ll be eligible for preferential recruitment if a GVI role becomes available. And that’s not all we have to offer. 

After successfully completing your research fellowship, you’ll have access to an online job portal that collates vacancies in the sustainable development industry. 

 

Online internship opportunities

Are you interested in gaining practical experience for your internship dissertation, but you’re unable to travel? Well, you can still complete your research fellowship abroad, without having to go anywhere.

GVI’s virtual internships are the perfect opportunity to hone the practical skills that you’ll need in the field you’re researching. Can’t wrap your head around it? Well, our virtual internships allow you to learn valuable skills, like how to analyse photos of target species like baby sea turtles, or how to work with real drone footage of coral reefs. You’ll also complete a project to help an organisation find solutions for a real-world scenario.

This will add to your knowledge of real-world contexts and teach you how to apply your theoretical understanding to on-the-ground project-work. Our virtual internships offer some of the same online training as our on-the-ground research fellowships. 

They also offer certificates, accredited by the University of Richmond, upon successful completion of your virtual internship. So, which subject areas can you choose from for your virtual internship?

You can do one of the following virtual internships:

Some questions to ask when you join a research fellowship

 

Why should I join a research fellowship?

A research fellowship allows you to meet your university or independent research requirements in a supportive and structured environment. With over 20 years of experience in field research, GVI will support you throughout the process, and connect you to an appropriate topic of research and a remote research fellowship supervisor. And we have hundreds of topics for you to choose from.

Research fellowships offer unique research opportunities in locations that are often otherwise challenging to access. For example, in Jalova, Costa Rica, previous interns have collected data on butterflies and amphibians in the protected Tortuguero National Park. And if you do a research fellowship in this location, you’ll be able to make use of existing databases. The benefit of this setup is two-fold.

Having access to existing research means that you don’t have to go out and collect the same data for your dissertation. This will save you time, strengthen your findings and give you the opportunity to hone in on other areas of your research. Using existing databases also contributes to the sustainability of resources used on the project. And, any new research you conduct during your research fellowship will be added to our databases, contribute to future students’ work on the project, and towards scientific conservation research more broadly.

On our research fellowships, you’ll also get to collaborate with other researchers across our international locations. This also includes the chance to connect with students from universities around the world whose research interests and goals are similar to yours. You’ll also work alongside our qualified on-the-ground staff members who are experts in their field.

Along with the opportunity to expand your professional network, you’ll make lifelong international friendships, receive and offer support to fellow students on our international research fellowships and learn directly from professionals in the industry.

And the benefits of a research fellowship don’t end after your program, it’ll also open doors to possible jobs in the industry once you complete your studies. All of our projects involve collaborative work with partner organisations, such as the Coastal Jaguar Conservation based in the Caribbean of Costa Rica, or the Endangered Wildlife Trust based in Africa. This unique industry exposure can put you on the map with reputable organisations.

GVI is an award-winning, international volunteer and internship organisation recognised by Go Abroad and Go Overseas. Some awards we’ve won include the Go Abroad Top Rated Intern Abroad Program award and the Go Overseas Value, Safety and Support award.

 

What’s included in my program fees?

Your fee will cover your pre-departure support and materials, food, accommodation, training and orientation, long-term GVI field staff, 24-hour in-country support, and project equipment. As well as:

  • pre-program training
  • three GVI online courses endorsed by the University of Richmond
  • training on GVI’s ethics and work with the UN SDGs, your internship location and project focus
  • practical experience working in the field alongside local and international experts
  • a remote internship supervisor who’ll provide you with one-on-one support and guidance
  • support with completing a research paper or thesis
  • a professional reference upon successfully completing your internship
  • a LinkedIn reference and skills endorsement upon successfully completing your internship
  • access to a job portal of available roles in conservation and sustainable development
  • preference regarding opportunities to work for GVI
  • a six month minimum job guarantee.
  • Not to mention unforgettable, off-the-beaten-track, life-changing experiences.

 

How old do I need to be?

You need to be 18+ years old to complete one of GVI’s research fellowships.

 

How long are fellowship programs?

We offer flexible duration options so that you can find the right fit for the goals you would like to achieve from your internship. Our on-the-ground research fellowships run between 4 and 24 weeks, depending on the research data and work you would like to take part in at the GVI base.

 

Do I need any experience or qualifications?

No, our trained field team will provide you with all the training you need when you join your internship. Some of our diving programs do require interns to be PADI Open Water certified prior to joining; please contact us to speak to an enrolment manager for more information.

 

What if I can’t decide which program to join?

Our team of enrolment managers are here to answer any and every question you have about our internships.

Your enrolment manager will guide you through choosing the program that best suits your field of research. We have hundreds of programs and research topics for you to consider.

To speak to us, submit a call back request and we will call you, otherwise, you can contact us directly.

 

Can I apply for a bursary to pay for my fellowship?

GVI does not provide any academic bursaries for our programs, but you are welcome to apply for independent financial aid such as student loans to cover the program fees. This is because the fees from our programs provide important funding to sustain our projects on the ground.

GVI may award a scholarship to high-performing participants on a program, or allow a participant to stay on their program for a longer duration at no extra charge.

 

Can I get a job with GVI after my fellowship?

Our collaboration and equal partnerships with communities, organisations and universities across the world have given us an understanding of what it takes to successfully forge a career in sustainability. Our internships provide you with career support, during and after your program.

Once you’ve completed your internship abroad, you’ll receive two career coaching sessions led by a remote career mentor.

Additionally, you’ll gain access to GVI’s online job portal, where you’ll find the latest job postings for a variety of international development work. And you’ll have preference for any GVI role you apply for.

 

Can I do my own research topic?

Your research project proposal will first need to be submitted and approved by your GVI Academic Mentor before you conduct your research. We do however recommend that for research that is part of a university degree, you submit a research proposal to GVI prior to finalising your booking so that you can get the most out of the experience.

 

Can I keep my research and data collected?

Because data is such a vital part of the work we do, any historical data, as well as any new data, reports, photographs and documentation collected by you on your GVI program remains the property of GVI or our in-country partners. This is also so that it can be used to inform our programs and help us to establish long term community and conservation goals that will make an impact.

 

Can I speak to supervisor to help me choose my research topic?

Yes, our experienced staff are on hand to assist you in choosing the right topic for your research.

 

Can I publish my paper or data?

While not required, we encourage our participants to publish their papers. Participants are however required to obtain approval from GVI and our project partners prior to publishing their paper.

 

What approval and permission do I need to publish my paper?

You will need to get permission from GVI and our in-country partners before any data can be used (e.g. before you can include it in a research or scientific paper). Data may not be released to a third party without GVI’s or our in-country partners’ prior approval. Please note that no monetary compensation will be provided to you for any data or research you collect.

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Finish your thesis, dissertation or research paper

1
Collect data in
remote habitats
2
Conduct research through
different techniques
3
Analyse data and
interpret results
4
Present findings in
report and presentation

Choose between two types of research projects

Flagship research project
Contribute to existing, ongoing research projects and assist GVI and our partners with general conservation monitoring efforts.
Independent research project
Complete your studies by conducting your own research that aligns with the topics and data that GVI and our partners have available.

Backed by science

Contribute to a 25-year legacy of scientific research by gaining access to GVI’s exclusive data sets and expertise.
View our publications on Google Scholar.
GVI cited 1000+ times on
Citation
Seychelles

Studying the effect of protection on the size and distribution of Grouper fish.

Dissertation
South Africa

Examining the optimal winter strategy for avian species in Karongwe private game reserve.

Scientific paper
Costa Rica

Observations of king vulture scavenging at green turtle carcasses in Tortuguero National Park.

Research paper
Fiji

Effects of nature-based tourism and environmental drivers on the demography of a dolphin pod.

Dissertation
Seychelles

Studying the spatial distribution of aldabra giant tortoises on the Curieuse island.

Research paper
Costa Rica

Studying first record of jaguar predation on loggerhead sea turtles in Tortuguero National Park.

Citation
Seychelles

Studying the effect of protection on the size and distribution of Grouper fish.

Dissertation
South Africa

Examining the optimal winter strategy for avian species in Karongwe private game reserve.

Cutting edge science. Published
research. Maximum impact.

Dr Vardhan Patankar
GVI Conservation Impact Director
  • PhD, Conservation Biology.
  • MSc Marine Sciences
  • Author, co-author and cited in over 400 academic papers.
GVI cited 1000+ times on
Guided by expert supervisors

Dr. Gabrielle Johnson

PhD in Marine Science, University of California.

Dr Johnson is a senior international marine program manager and conservation education specialist. With more than 15 years of experience, she has worked on various impactful marine conservation projects across the globe. During her career, she has collaborated with National Geographic, PADI and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Dr. Michael Musgrave

PhD in Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews.

Dr Musgrave has been researching, teaching and working in wildlife conservation for over 20 years. A milestone moment in his career, is the work he’s done for African Parks, to develop an innovative conservation project, serving 16 national parks and its surrounding communities. He is currently a senior consultant for community conservation and carbon monetisation.

Dr. Vardhan Patankar

PhD in Coral Reef Ecology and Conservation Biology.

Dr Patankar has extensive experience in a range of applied studies in marine systems – including socio-ecological resilience, illegal marine trade, protected areas, dugongs, dolphins and coconut crabs. He is currently the Impact Director at GVI where he designs and implements conservation project impact frameworks, processes and policies.

Dr. Brett Cohen

PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town.

Dr Cohen is a registered climate change expert on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and rated as a C2 National Research Foundation researcher. He has worked on various sustainability projects around the world, and currently leads multiple projects linked to climate, greenhouse gas emissions and energy systems.

Dr. Gabrielle Johnson

PhD in Marine Science, University of California.

Dr Johnson is a senior international marine program manager and conservation education specialist. With more than 15 years of experience, she has worked on various impactful marine conservation projects across the globe. During her career, she has collaborated with National Geographic, PADI and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Dr. Michael Musgrave

PhD in Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews.

Dr Musgrave has been researching, teaching and working in wildlife conservation for over 20 years. A milestone moment in his career, is the work he’s done for African Parks, to develop an innovative conservation project, serving 16 national parks and its surrounding communities. He is currently a senior consultant for community conservation and carbon monetisation.

Stand out from the crowd

Conservation skills
  • Survey techniques
  • Climate change impact
  • Fauna and flora identification
  • Biodiversity and ecology
Leadership skills
  • Project management
  • Critical thinking
  • Resilience
  • Time management
Soft skills
  • Cultural awareness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

Raise your academic profile

When you complete an internship  of 12+ weeks, we guarantee you’ll secure an impact-driven position within 18 months (or we’ll return 50% of your program fee). View our career guarantee.

Careers in Sustainable
Development Certificate
Research Fellowship
Program Certificate
Subject Area
Foundation Certificate
Leading Teams for
Impact Certificate
Careers in Sustainable
Development Certificate
Research Fellowship
Program Certificate
You'll also get:
  • One-on-one mentoring sessions
  • Advanced leadership training
  • Research methods training
  • Job portal access
  • Career coaching sessions
  • LinkedIn reference
Remote
locations.
Rare species. Exclusive access.

Karongwe, South Africa

Curieuse, Seychelles

Kekoldi, Costa Rica

Mahe, Seychelles

Karongwe, South Africa

Curieuse, Seychelles
4–24 weeks
Virtual
internships

Work remotely on real projects for conservation partners.

4-12 weeks
Internships

Get broad exposure to a variety of conservation initiatives.

24 weeks
Professional
apprenticeships

Get a three month placement to work for a conservation partner.