Walter O. Spofford, Jr. Memorial Internship

RFF awards resident internships each academic year in honor of Walter O. Spofford, Jr., who helped launch the RFF China Program in 1989. Spofford is known for mentoring Chinese researchers, working with Chinese officials to establish environmental standards compatible with sustainable economic growth, assisting in the development of environmental master plans, and helping to establish the Beijing Environment and Development Institute. 

To honor and continue this important work, RFF offers a paid internship for graduate students with a special interest in Chinese environmental issues to spend time at RFF in Washington, DC.

Read about the current and previous Walter O. Spofford, Jr. Memorial Internship awardees.


RFF seeks highly motivated candidates in their first or second year of graduate training in the social or natural sciences. Candidates should also have outstanding policy analysis and writing skills. Specific information about the research interests of RFF can be found on RFF’s website. The intern can expect to work with one or more RFF researchers on a variety of ongoing projects or assist in the development of entirely new areas of research and policy analysis.

The program is open to both US and non-US citizens, provided that the latter have proper work and residency documentation. Chinese students are particularly encouraged to apply.


Walter O. Spofford, Jr. Memorial Interns are normally in residence at RFF for 10 weeks during the summer.


Internship awardees will earn a stipend in the amount of $375 per week. No housing assistance is provided.

Application Materials

Individuals interested in applying should submit the following materials through RFF’s online application system:

Candidates should also submit the following by email to with the applicant’s name and Spofford in the subject line:

Application Deadline

All application materials must be received by March 16, 2018. The award will be announced in late April.