Internship (River Plastic Research And Project Management)

The Ocean Cleanup

Rotterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱


The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. To do this, we rely on a thorough understanding of the behavior of plastic in freshwater and marine environments. The Research team at The Ocean Cleanup aims at refining our understanding of the sources, transport, and fate of plastics debris in these environments. An important research aspect is to understand the role of rivers in transporting plastic debris towards the ocean. To this end, the team is investigating plastic pollution in three focus rivers worldwide: the Umgeni River, Durban, South Africa; the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand; and the Rio Ozama, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Your main responsibilities will be to support the preparation and execution of river field data campaigns in the three rivers of interest, including implementing geospatial information layers to target monitoring sites and eventually help assess where plastic pollution could be originating from. Ultimately, your results will be applied to quantify and characterize plastic debris transport and dynamics in the three focus rivers.

Working independently and taking responsibility for your work are important elements of this internship. The success of river plastic science relies on good planning and execution of field missions and orderly and efficient recording, storing, and analyzing of scientific data.


  • Compiling information and indicators derived from field observations and geospatial datasets for the three rivers of interest
  • Supporting the preparation and execution of river field data campaigns
  • Other responsibilities include:
    • Survey of relevant literature
    • Research into large scale geospatial datasets and open-source libraries
    • Cooperation with other scientists within the research team as well as the data and monitoring team
    • Create and refine experimental designs for research on plastic debris movement in the environment


  • Bachelor’s degree; preferably post-graduate science education
  • Experience in project management
  • Experience with GIS, mapping projects, and data science is recommended
  • Experience with plastic pollution research and/or waste management is a plus
  • Ability to clearly present and explain results of complex research to scientists
  • Fluent in English


  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Curious, creative, and determined to deliver
  • Able to quickly get to the essence of a scientific, technical, or logistical challenge, and investigate the most relevant/important aspects to get to a solution
  • Able to perform well in a fast-paced and challenging environment
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Intrinsic motivation to work on our ambitious and meaningful goal

Note that the candidate needs to be enrolled at a university (MSc program) during the duration of the internship. 


From October 2021

Duration: 6 monthsSTARTING FROM:October 2021WORK PERMIT NEEDED:European Union

A valid European Union work permit is highly preferred for this position. However, feel free to send an open application so we can contact you if an opportunity arises in your country.




IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development