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First Nations Pathway Internship

Are you a recent First Nations Australian graduate or post-graduate wanting to develop your expertise in defence, foreign and national security policy, including in areas such as strategic competition, cyber and space? Do you want to inform the public and government on critical strategic choices facing Australia and learn what it takes to be a professional strategic analyst? If so, you might be interested in applying for the dedicated First Nations internship pathway as part of the ASPI Research Internship Program.

Interns make an important contribution to the ASPI research effort. If successful, you would be employed from February - December 2023 and work with ASPI analysts to assist in research projects across thematic and geographic priorities to Australia’s interests. There may also be opportunities for those interested in communications and marketing to work with our Strategic Communications and Events team which is responsible for undertaking ASPI’s full range of public and private initiatives including speeches, roundtables, dialogues with governments and industry, and running ASPI’s podcast. The Internship will also include exposure to ASPI’s administrative and corporate sector, a vital component of the work of all organisations.

The ASPI Internship program nurtures the next generation of strategic thinkers in Australia, is highly respected by government agencies and the private sector and directly leads to future employment opportunities. We will give you the opportunity to make a practical contribution to developing strategic policy and, in the process, gain some valuable ‘on the job’ training. An ASPI Internship provides the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s key contributors to defence and national security debates, and results in professional development through engagement with our experienced staff and observing roundtable discussions with local and international visitors.

Information for Applicants


  • You will need to demonstrate excellent academic results, strong research skills and be enthusiastic, motivated and able to adapt to the work environment quickly.
  • ASPI’s research Internships are open to those who have completed their studies within the last two years.
  • You must either be an Australian Citizen or be residing in Australia with full working rights.
  • Applicants must have completed their undergraduate degree by the end of December 2022. While you do not need to have completed postgraduate studies, many, but not all, of our previous Interns have either completed, or have been in the process of completing, their postgraduate degrees.
  • ASPI welcomes applications from all disciplines. Past interns have had academic backgrounds in International Relations, Science, Mathematics, Arts and Law, amongst others. The ability to speak a foreign language is highly regarded.
  • ASPI promotes a workplace that includes, welcomes and values unique contributions of all people. The Institute strongly encourages women and people from diverse cultural backgrounds including applicants from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds to apply.

Selection process

  • Your application will be assessed, and only shortlisted applicants will be contacted and interviewed.
  • Due to the large number of applications received, ASPI will not contact all applicants, or provide feedback.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be required to prepare an original one page piece of analysis as part of the selection process. Further details will be provided to shortlisted applicants.
  • Referees will be contacted after interviews, only for those applicants who might be offered an internship.

If you are successful

  • You will be contacted and offered a position as a Research Intern and will need to sign an employment contract.
  • You will be employed on a full-time basis in Canberra, commencing on 6 February 2023. Your internship will conclude on 15 December 2023.
  • It is likely that there will be a total of four to six Interns appointed.
  • The Internship Program is viewed as a development opportunity and, while employment at ASPI after the Internship Program concludes is not guaranteed, there may be opportunities at ASPI for further career development.
  • ASPI does not offer any assistance to Interns to travel or relocate to Canberra to commence work.
  • You will become a permanent member of ASPI’s Intern Alumni Association, which includes an ongoing relationship with ASPI and networking opportunities with previous ASPI Interns.


Please submit the following with your application:

  • Cover letter, maximum of two pages in length, outlining why you wish to be considered for the position and what qualities and expertise you can offer;
  • Copy of your curriculum vitae;
  • Contact details of at least two referees, one of whom is an academic referee; and
  • Copy of your academic transcript/s.

Application Form

Applications are currently CLOSED.

If interested in a future Internship position, watch the ASPI Website’s Job page for opportunities.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, however applications will formally close at midnight Friday 16 December 2022.


Megara Thompson (Inaugural First Nations Intern – 2020-21)

During your time with ASPI, describe your experience in developing relationships and networking

I was only at ASPI for a couple of months but within that short amount of time I was able to develop connections through stakeholder engagement to develop articles for The Strategist as well as ASPI events. 

Describe the opportunities provided by ASPI and the skills and experiences you have gained throughout the internship

During my time at ASPI I gained skills that have helped me in later jobs, and the experiences have helped me connect with like-minded people across private and public sector.

What was the most memorable part of your internship at ASPI?

The most memorable part of my internship was knowing I was helping put together a report that would provide sustainable change to the Department of Defence for First Nations peoples to have continued career progression throughout the whole Department.

If there was one thing you would say to a future ASPI Research Intern, what would it be?

Take a chance and say yes to every career opportunity that comes your way. As well as continue to constantly ask questions.



Updated: 16 Jun 2023