Sustainable internships

Starting this summer: EPFL highligths internship topics with a direct impact on sustainability.

Sustainable internships extend EPFL’s sustainability strategy to its partnership with companies.

This program  meets a growing demand from our master students. Through these internships, students will have the opportunity to learn more about the development of environmentally friendly products and services. This knowledge will be an asset for their CV.

Companies interested in receiving the label must explain how the main purpose of the technology (product, process, service) developed during the internship has a direct impact on sustainability.

The criteria are based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

EPFL’s Tech4Impact unit is in charge of evaluating the proposals and attributing the sustainability label.

Food (SDG 2)

  • Reducing food waste
  • Developing responsible products or improving the quality of nutrition
  • Making agricultural practices sustainable (limiting pollution, overproduction, etc.)

Health (SDG 3)

  • Facilitating access to health and to services
  • Making products or services safe for users and for the environment

Clean water (SDG 6)

  • Recovering, reusing or recycling water
  • Improving the quality of drinkable water

Energy (SDG 7)

  • Reducing the grey energy of products through an eco-designed approach
  • Developing renewable energies
  • Developing sustainable low-consumption technologies

Infrastructures, industrialization and innovation (SDG 9)

  • Developing information technology products and services and making them accessible to all while preserving a sustainable energy balance
  • Designing infrastructures adapted to climate change (resilient)
  • Developing low-cost technologies and industries (low-tech, autonomous)

Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)

  • Recycling materials or developing sustainable building materials
  • Improving air quality
  • Proposing modular (reversible) infrastructures and/or those with a lesser environmental impact (e.g. pooling of resources)
  • Developing technologies promoting e-governance and participatory approaches (e.g. smart city)

Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)

  • Optimizing waste management
  • Establishing a circular economy

Climate change (SDG 13)

  • Optimizing logistics and sustainable transport
  • Reducing energy footprints and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Ecosystems (SDG 14+15)

  • Preserving marine and/or terrestrial ecosystems
  • Ensuring the restoration and maintenance of biodiversity

Social impact

  • Promote sustainable economic growth (SDG 1, 2, 8, 9)
  • Ensuring quality education (SDG 4)
  • Others

Company submissions are listed on the internship portal once validated by each section. Internships with a sustainability label will be identifiable with the following logo:

The evaluation process of the internship is similar to a regular internship but the student is asked to write a half-page report to comment if the sustainability goals have been reached. This report does not influence the validation of the internship for the master curriculum.

Students are encouraged to identify sustainable internship opportunities within companies that meet the criteria listed above. The proposal of the internship subject is made by the company through the EPFL internship portal.

The sustainable internship initiative is in a pilot phase during the academic year 2020-2021. The steering committee is made up of representatives from the following units:

If you have any questions, please send your request to [email protected]

EPFL has been working for several years for greater sustainability on its campus. Its ambitious strategy is based on the drafting of a Climate 2030 action plan, the CO2 neutrality of the campus by 2020, and the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) within the framework of the Swiss Confederation’s Agenda 2030.

EPFL also supports exemplary projects such as a platform for the creation of sustainability projects for students (2018-2020), the adaptation of the campus’ outdoor facilities to climate change (energy, well-being and biodiversity), and the enhancement of the agricultural heritage (Bassenges) in a participative agro-ecological approach.

Visit the EPFL sustainability website for more details