As part of their outreach program, CASPR hosts undergraduate and Honours student interns every year. In winter 2021, four enthusiastic students successfully completed research projects with CASPR’s lead academics.  

Georgia, photo by Catherine Leo.

Georgia worked on a project with Associate Professor Cassandra Star 

“As a research intern with CASPR during the winter break of 2021, I had the exciting opportunity to work with Associate Professor Cassandra Star on a research project regarding Prime Minister Scott Morrison and environmental protest/civil society organisations. Specifically, I was tasked with conducting a review of both literature and media articles concerning how Scott Morrison engages with (or disengages from) various actors within the civil society sector, including individual protesters, environmental and social movements such as School Strike for Climate, charities, universities and public servants. The research, which was designed as a continuation of Professor Star’s previous publication entitled Silencing Australian civil society: the Howard legacy and the Abbott Government’s remaking of Australian democracy, was geared towards making the argument that Scott Morrison is constraining civic space and narrowing the types of voices which can make themselves heard in Australian politics. We contend that this is having a negative effect on Australia’s democracy and entrenching climate inaction. The research process involved collecting data, analysing and organising it thematically using software, and making annotations. At the end of this five week-long internship, I submitted a report on my research to CASPR which will be used by Associate Professor Star to inform the publication of an academic article. I found this research topic engaging and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of producing something intended to bring the body of literature ‘up-to-date’. The project was both meaningful and accessible to me as an undergraduate student. 

 This internship was an excellent introduction to the world of academia, and the successes and challenges which one can expect to encounter in a research career in the field of environmental politics and policy making. It was great to be given the opportunity to hone my research skills in a supportive yet independent environment, and to have met like-minded professionals who are creating and advocating for positive change in climate and sustainability policy in Australia. I would absolutely recommend applying for this internship, particularly to anyone considering postgraduate studies.”

Bella, photo by Catherine Leo.

Bella worked with Dr Peter Tangney on the project “Why politicians ignore experts and evidence”.

 “The projects that each of us worked on gave us great practical experience in developing our research and communication skills. My project was focused on a topic that is highly relevant to the world we live in today, and I strongly believed in the usefulness and importance of what we were working on. It was an enriching experience with a good balance between guided research and exploring independent avenues.”


Cecilia, photo by Catherine Leo.

Cecilia was engaged in a project that considers the level of bush fire preparedness in South Australian councils with Associate Professor Beverley Clarke.

“The CASPR internship enabled me to refine my research skills, as well as provide me the opportunity to work with Associate Professor Beverly Clarke and Associate Professor Kirstin Ross on a project that will, hopefully, aid them on their own joint project. It was rewarding to see the product, and to meet three likeminded individuals who were just as determined and supportive. The whole CASPR team were incredibly helpful, encouraging, and flexible when things got particularly difficult. Further, this experience has made me excited for a potential pathway into research and academia.”

Cassandra, Beverley and Peter have been impressed and well-aided in their respective research projects by the contributions made by Georgia, Bella, Cecilia and Issy (read about her project here). The CASPR group anticipates offering another round of funded internships in February 2022 – contact to be notified by email when applications open.