How to become an ESI Junior Fellow

ESI 10 year anniversary meeting in Istanbul (2009)
ESI 10 year anniversary meeting in Istanbul (2009)

Due to huge interest in internships with ESI, we have created a junior fellowship programme.

Our aim: to help any applicant identify if they would actually enjoy being part of our team; and to help us see if you have the kind of skills that would make your fellowship a success.

There are no formal requirements. That said, excellent English writing skills are very important. You can apply to ESI without having a university degree or with two PhDs – we have had excellent analysts who fit both descriptions. What we are looking for is exceptional skills, wide experience, and character.



Rome Moldova Istanbul
ESI in Rome – Moldova - Istanbul


If you are interested in a junior fellowship, please send the following four documents to


1. Curriculum Vitae


2. Text analysis (1-3 pages)

Please read and choose one of the following three documents. Then write a short essay (1-3 pages) answering the question(s) on that topic. Remember: brevity is the soul of wit.

Understanding Willingness to Migrate Illegally: Evidence from a Lab in the Field Experiment
Tijan L. Bah and Catia Batista
NovAfrica Working Paper No. 1803, November 2018

Read this report and write a short and precise summary as if you were writing for an interested politician who does not have the time to read it themselves. What is the report about, how did the authors approach their topic, and what are their main findings? At the end of the essay, after the summary, answer the following question: Which conclusions could a politician draw from the report in order to reduce Gambian irregular migration to the EU? In other words: Which measures could be taken to achieve this based on the findings of this report? For your background: In the 2014-2018 period, some 40,000 Gambians came to the EU illegally, risking their lives on the journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea. Of those, 5,700 received asylum, another 11,000 could stay for humanitarian reasons, and 2,500 were returned to Gambia (Eurostat). The remaining 20,800 live somewhere in the EU as irregular migrants.

Albania Report 2019
European Commission, May 2019

Read this report and tell us: What do you think of it? Is it written in a way that it is clear and understandable to anyone interested in Albania's progress towards to the EU, such as EU government officials who needed to decide in 2019 whether Albania should open EU accession talks, businesspeople thinking about investing in Albania, NGOs, European and Albanian citizens? Give examples to illustrate your findings. Also, if you find shortcomings, tell us how such a report could be improved.

Evaluating the Evaluators - Media Freedom Indexes and What They Measure
National Endowment for Democracy, 2010

Read this and discuss, referring to this analysis: What does the rank of a country in the Reporters without Borders index actually tell us?


3. Short essay: What I bring to ESI (max 1 page)

  • Please refer to at least one ESI output (report, film, paper) as you explain what you would bring to ESI, assuming that we plan to work on similar products in the future.
  • In doing so please indicate precisely your relevant skills and experience - this could be writing/editing experience, any previous work, stays abroad, languages.


4. Short essay: Reading that inspires (1-2 pages)

Money Fragile Empire Can Intervention Work?
Books by ESI staff and fellows (please do not chose any one of these)

You can only become a better writer by becoming a better reader. ESI is about relevant ideas – new and old ideas - freshly presented and applied to new contexts. It is about excellent writing and constant, extensive reading.

If you are interested in ESI, you are likely to be interested in many different issues and to read widely. Once part of our team, your contributions will be valuable if you can share insights you gain from your reading with others in our team.

Please send us a summary (at least one page – no more than two) of a book that you have recently read and which has inspired you so much that you would strongly recommend to every ESI staff member to read it during their next vacation, and be inspired in turn. It can be on any subject, from the biography of Einstein to a self-improvement book, from the history of statistics to a book on one of the big issues of our time.

Your review does not need to express any original thoughts on the subject you cover (but it can). We are looking instead for you to present in an effective and gripping way what the book is about and the insights it provides. The goal is to inspire and convince others to go and buy it right away.

ESI staff meeting (Istanbul)
ESI staff meeting (Istanbul)

If you submit a complete application and we are impressed, we guarantee you an interview on Skype or another electronic platform within 3 months of your application or detailed feedback on your application, irrespective of whether we have a position open at that time. If we like you, we will make an effort to find a position for you even if one is not immediately available.

Please specify your preference for one of the ESI offices (Berlin or Brussels) and your availability.