Thursday 24 Jun 2021 | 05:03 | SYDNEY
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Careers and Internships



Research Director

The Lowy Institute is a world-leading, non-partisan think tank specialising in foreign policy and international affairs. Based in Sydney, Australia, the Institute was established in 2003 by businessman and philanthropist Sir Frank Lowy AC. The Institute’s research agenda is broad, with expertise in a number of core regions and issues: North Asia, with a significant focus on China; Southeast Asia; Pacific Islands; West Asia; international security; international economics; and public opinion. Lowy Institute experts produce in-depth research and analysis, conduct conferences and roundtables, convene influential events, and produce commentary and analysis for the world’s leading news outlets on developments in the region. The Institute is at the centre of Australia’s foreign policy and national security debates, and its research, including flagship products such as the Lowy Institute Poll, the Asia Power Index, the Pacific Aid Map and Lowy Institute Papers, has made a significant contribution to the development of Australia’s international policies over the past two decades.

The Lowy Institute seeks to appoint a new Research Director. The role is responsible for ensuring the Institute’s research is outstanding in quality and has global reach. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Research Director leads the research team and is responsible for the research output of the Institute including digital features, with a particular focus on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Research Director is a member of the Executive Team of the Institute and as part of the leadership group will also work with key stakeholders on grant applications and other business development activities. This is a rare chance to join an international policy Institute at the centre of Australia’s foreign policy and national security debates and lead its first-class suite of research products.

For the right person, this role is an outstanding opportunity to utilise your skills from media, academia, government or business to work with a leading global think-tank in a senior leadership role. Interested? Please contact Malcolm Duncan at The Insight Group via for a confidential discussion.



2021 Michael and Deborah Thawley Scholarship

Applicants for the 2021 Thawley Scholarship should note that the selection process will remain suspended until we have more certainty about the lifting of overseas travel restrictions. We will update this page when we have more information.

The Michael and Deborah Thawley Scholarship offers an Australian official, officer, student, or recent graduate an exceptional opportunity to contribute to the work of two leading think tanks, the Lowy Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Scholarship

The scholarship provides direct exposure to the work of both organisations, at the intersection of research and policy in international affairs. The Thawley Scholar will initially work for a short period in the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, before spending 8–12 weeks in Washington DC at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Research to be carried out by the Thawley Scholar is flexible, but it is expected to place a strong emphasis on the regional and geopolitical dimensions of Australia’s strategic interests. Applicants should draw up a brief research agenda to be considered for publication. In Sydney, the scholar is expected to produce output for the Lowy Institute’s digital magazine, The Interpreter, under the supervision of the Director of the International Security Program.

The CSIS placement offers a rare chance to gain direct insight into US debates on global strategic challenges and policy responses, including opportunities to interact with the Washington foreign policy establishment and to meet with high-level policymakers and commentators, and then to apply that knowledge professionally upon return to Australia.

The successful applicant will receive an A$5000 award as well as a two-stage research placement, based in Sydney and Washington DC. In addition to the award, flights, visa costs, and a small travel allowance are provided for the Washington placement. Domestic travel and partial living costs for the Sydney placement will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The timing and length of the placement is flexible within the 2020 calendar year, and a start date would be negotiated with the successful candidate. 

Eligibility Requirements

There is no specific professional profile for the preferred applicant, but a competitive candidate will typically be either a promising junior to mid-career Australian Government official or Australian Defence Force officer, or an exceptional postgraduate student with wider experience and demonstrated interests in international security. A knowledge of and interest in Southeast Asia is desirable. Please note, this scholarship is only open to Australian citizens and holders of permanent residency.

A list of past Thawley scholars can be found here.


The availability of internships depends on the capacity and needs of our staff. Openings will be advertised on this page as they arise. Please note we no longer accept rolling applications.

Our internship program aims to connect talented international policy students and professionals with our research staff and programs. You should be interested in contributing to Australian international policy, have excellent time management and administrative skills, think critically, write clearly, and capably manage independent research tasks. Typically you will be enrolled in, or have completed, the final year of undergraduate studies, honours or postgraduate studies. The internship program attracts a large number of outstanding candidates and is highly competitive. Our intern alumni include Rhodes scholars, diplomats, soldiers, journalists, and academics. If your application is successful you will work in our Sydney offices at 31 Bligh St on a voluntary basis, with a small stipend to cover lunch and travel expenses. Permission to work in Australia is essential.