Microplastics Research Internships

Research on
Microplastics & Marine Litter

Start your career with a special experience!

Research on Microplastics & Marine Litter


Plastic pollution is a global issue under the attention of a vast number of disciplines, ranging from science to arts & media.  Plastic debris and microplastics pose one of the greatest threats to the unique biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea. Archipelagos was the first institute to start research in microplastics in Greece in 2009. Our research is focused in the Aegean Sea where a limited amount of research is carried out to quantify the consequences of the plastic pollution in various levels of marine ecosystems. Given the natural and socioeconomic importance of the region, plastic pollution poses a serious threat to both marine and human life.

Program Description

Archipelagos’ goal is to quantify the sources and main ecosystem impacts of microplastics and plastic debris in the Aegean Sea. Interns will assist with ongoing research, including:

  • Microplastic content in the digestive systems of local commercial fish and invertebrates
  • Microplastic content in the digestive systems of stranded marine animals (e.g. dolphins, sea turtles, monk seals)
  • Microplastics in surface seawater and water column samples collected through kayak and boat surveys using manta and plankton nets
  • Microplastics in freshwater samples (e.g. rivers, streams, wetlands and underground water bodies)
  • Sediment core sampling of various substrates (e.g. wetlands, seabeds, sand)
  • Coastal marine litter monitoring of targeted beaches around the Aegean Islands.
  • Floating marine litter monitoring by boat-based and ferry-based surveys.

These projects provide field-work and hands-on research opportunities for under-graduate and post-graduate students and for other early career researchers looking to gain field-research experience. Participants have the opportunity to collect data for producing a thesis and scientific publications (you can view Archipelagos researchers' scientific publications that interns contributed to, here). This internship provides skills and expertise valuable for a professional career in marine conservation and environmental management.

Interns have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects, for university credit or for a thesis/dissertation.

Applicant profile

This internship program is available to applicants who have completed at least one year of college or university studies in marine, environmental, geographical and/or related sciences.

Applicants must be able to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary team.

Additional skills required:

  • Experience in snorkeling, free-diving and/or kayaking (optional)
  • Capacity for accurate and consistent data collection and analysis
  • Comfortable to work independently in a simple laboratory facility
  • Ability to write scientific reports and papers
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary team.
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills
  • High standard of work
  • Fluency in English
  • Sincere desire to work towards Archipelagos’ conservation efforts
  • Motivation to live in a small island community in simple facilities and to be adaptable to life onboard Archipelagos’ research vessels.

Additional Information

Normal placement duration ranges between 3 - 12 months, although shorter or longer placements can be tailored to the needs of groups and individuals.

Archipelagos’ research bases and stations in the Eastern Aegean Sea, on the islands of Samos and Lipsi as well as onboard the research vessels. Interns often move between research bases and boats depending on where surveys will take place.

As a non-profit research institute, these internships are not paid. This educational experience also requires a monthly fee of 650 euro to cover living expenses, the cost of training, use of research equipment and research vessels, and other expenses like Wi-Fi and insurance. For shorter duration placement than 3 months the participation fees are 780 euro per month. Please note that travel costs to and from the research center are not included in the fees and are covered by the participant. This fee also contributes to the overall operations of the institute and allows Archipelagos to continue conducting important research.

Students and recent graduates are advised to explore possible funding through their universities, by getting in touch with the Finance / International Relations / Placement/ Erasmus+ Offices at their Universities or other relevant grant providing organizations in their region.

To apply for an internship, send a CV, cover letter, and at least one reference letter or reference contact details using the button at the top of the page.