• Interviews started
  • Closing date: 07 September 2020


In our mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, we rely on a thorough understanding of the ocean plastic pollution problem. The research team at The Ocean Cleanup aims to refine our understanding of the sources, transport, and fate of ocean plastics. An important research aspect is to determine the persistence of floating plastic debris at the sea surface. To this end, our research team is currently looking into the possibility of using Raman spectroscopy to determine the degree of degradation (i.e. aging) of plastic debris afloat on the ocean surface. 

The Ocean Research Intern will be responsible for the concept development and related research of a method to age ocean plastics using Raman spectroscopy. Ultimately, the method will be applied to characterize ocean plastics collected in the Western and Eastern North Pacific Oceans to compare their residence time and eventually assess their origin. 

An important part of this internship is to work closely with our research team to assess and analyze concept ideas. This project will be successful once an efficient method to age plastics has been defined. That said, this will only be possible when the required knowledge has been developed within a short time period (six months). 


Responsible for knowledge building and delivering high-quality concept designs for the development of a scientific method. Other responsibilities include:

  • Conducting a literature review to assess the current state of knowledge related to using Raman spectroscopy in ocean plastic research
  • Familiarizing yourself with the different techniques used to age ocean plastics  
  • Developing a method to age ocean plastics using Raman spectroscopy
  • Designing a way to create known aged plastics under natural environmental conditions, for the purpose of testing the efficiency of the new method
  • Applying the method using plastics collected from the Pacific Ocean 
  • Conducting data analysis, interpretation, presentation, and then documenting this in a report


  • Enrolled in a degree program at a university
  • Available as per September 2020 for six months
  • Bachelor's degree, preferably post graduate science education
  • Successful completion of advanced chemistry and biology courses
  • Experience with laboratory protocols, procedures, and safety measures
  • Experience with polymer science and/or plastic pollution research
  • Experience with chemical and biological research in the laboratory
  • Ability to clearly present and explain results of complex research to scientists is a plus
  • Ability to quickly build an understanding of complicated technical subjects, where limited knowledge is available 
  • Fluent in English


  • Be able to quickly get to the essence of a technical challenge, and investigate the most relevant/important aspects to get to a solution direction
  • Performs well in a fast-paced and challenging environment
  • Curious, creative, and determined to deliver
  • Flexible team player
  • Ability to work independently
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Intrinsic motivation to work on our ambitious and meaningful goal
Starting from:
September 2020

Interviews have started, but please feel free to apply, as we might consider new applications.