Observer Research Foundation (ORF) is a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary public policy think tank engaged in developing and discussing policy alternatives on a wide-range of issues of national and international significance. Some of ORF's key areas of research include international relations, security affairs, politics and governance, resources management and economy and development. The fundamental objective of ORF is to influence formulation of policies for building a strong and prosperous India in a globalised world. ORF conducts research under the following programmes: Climate, Energy and Resources, Cyber and Media, Economy and Growth, Global Governance, National Security, Strategic Studies, The Politics of Reform.

ORF pursues these goals by providing informed and productive inputs, in-depth research and stimulating discussions. Set up in the early 1990s during the troubled period of India’s transition from a protected economy to its new engagement with the international economic order, ORF examines critical policy problems facing the country and helps develop coherent policy responses in a rapidly changing global environment.

As an independent think tank, ORF develops and publishes informed and viable inputs for policymakers in the Government and for the political and business leadership of the country. It maintains a range of informal contacts with politicians, policymakers, civil servants, business leaders and the media, in India, and abroad. ORF publications are distributed widely to government officials and legislators, business leaders, journalists, and academics.

Programmes at ORF: Climate and Energy resources, Global Governance, The Politics of Reform, Cyber and Media, National Security, Economy and Growth, and Strategic Studies. Headquartered in New Delhi, ORF has chapters in Chennai, Mumbai and in Kolkata.


Possible volunteering opportunities

The Observer Research Foundation provides internships for scholars/students from diverse backgrounds, with mandatory English language skills, to work on a range of projects of national and international importance in key research areas. Interns may be asked to participate in a variety of activities, including research, writing, and organizing seminars and conferences that support the goals of the programme they are assigned to. The objective of the internship is to provide opportunities for scholars/students to gain practical experience in research and publishing analytical work. International students would gain exposure to the policy processes and research activities within India. The internship also allows ORF the opportunity to interact with young scholars and develop longer professional associations.

In order to attain maximum benefit from the internship, applicants should be willing to dedicate atleast one month to the programme. Prospective candidates are also encouraged to consider the areas of research undertaken by ORF and identify their preferred fields. This is necessary to place the applicant with a suitable supervisor and/or project.

Preferred Skills

  • Interest in any of the themes covered by ORF (International Relations, Politics and Governance, Resource Management, Economy and Development, Security Studies);
  • Strong Research and Analytical Skills
  • Ability to work with a team
  • Time management, punctuality, and ability to meet deadlines

Approximate cost

You should expect to spend about £1250 for eight weeks - this covers costs for food and accommodation, as well as local travel. There are no programme fees payable to Camvol.

In addition to these local costs, volunteers will need to book return flights to India (typically about £550 if booked early), and apply for an Indian visa, as required by the Indian government (for visa procedures and exact fees, please check the Indian visa facilitation service website.

Vaccination and other medical costs have NOT been included in estimated costs, and applicants should take this into account while planning their budgets. If you intend to travel for recreation and tourism, these costs will be additional, so please budget accordingly.

Financial support is available, including Camvol-CMEDT Commonwealth Travelling Scholarships; support from Colleges; and from the University. If selected, the Camvol Director can advise about funding opportunities.