Updated on 01 November 2020. Written by Alec Vuijlsteke with Lisa Pschorn.
If you hold a university degree you can now apply for a Robert Schuman traineeship in the European Parliament. The deadline is 30 November for a traineeship to start on 1 March 2021. A paid traineeship will enhance your education and your vocational training. It will provide you with an insight into the work of the EU institutions and the European Parliament.
Candidates without distinction as to gender, sexual orientation, cultural, ethnic backgrounds or disability are encouraged to apply, with reasonable accommodation available for successful candidates with disabilities who may need them.
Several traineeships are possible in the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services, usually known as the European Parliamentary Research Service. The EPRS is the in-house research centre and think tank of the EP. It provides information, analysis and research, on an independent basis, to Members of the European Parliament and parliamentary committees on all EU policies, legislation and issues.
We comprise four directorates – for the Members’ Research Service, Impact Assessment and European Added Value, Library and Knowledge Services, and Resources. In addition, there are two horizontal units within the Directorate-General’s central services: the Strategy and Innovation Unit and the Linking the Levels Unit. The Directorate-General comprises a total of 21 units and just over 300 staff.
‘Empowering through knowledge’ is the guiding principle of EPRS, underpinning the mission of the entire DG.
In concrete terms, between 2014 and 2019, EPRS:
- Answered over 16,000 requests for substantive research and analysis from over 90 per cent of individual Members;
- Replied to over 2,000 such requests from other parliamentary clients;
- Undertook targeted research work for 20 parliamentary committees;
- Treated over 110,000 reference requests from within the Parliament and over 330,000 citizens’ enquiries;
- Produced over 5,000 publications, most recently at a rate of around 700 physical publications and 250 digital-only texts annually.
Take a look at the video about the EPRS:
Or a video specifically on EPRS publications:
You can apply for some 24 traineeship positions in the EPRS.
Some testimonials by trainees in the EPRS
As a trainee working in the Strategy and Innovation Unit, I am in direct contact with Members of Parliament, to provide them with the relevant publications by our policy analysts, but I also help to coordinate (and innovate) in communication with the wider public. It’s a great traineeship unit if you want to get a good overview of the processes at EPRS and the EP in general, because you get to see and collaborate with many different units and on many different topics.
During my traineeship at the European Added Value Unit, I was able to contribute to research on policy areas including litigation funding, poverty and inequality, stress-testing and many more. I learned a lot about how publications are written from start to finish, and how to quantify the economic and social value of policy measures.
I assisted with the design of LibGuides, compiled a number of selected reading guides on various topics, including law, artificial intelligence, the impact of Brexit or state aid. I was involved in the selection of books as well as their acquisition and catalogue-related tasks. I was also given the opportunity to attend plenary sessions and meet with some Czech MEPs as well as with the Vice-President of the European Commission.
My traineeship at the Ex-post Evaluation Unit in EPRS is incredibly enriching. I was able to learn not only how to do quality research and policy analysis, but also how to adapt large amounts of scientific and technical information, about any topic imaginable, into comprehensive studies or synthetised briefings. The work carried out by the Unit is an essential part of the policy-making process, and I had the opportunity to learn from its excellent professionals, who made me feel like a part of the team from the very first moment
I applied for a traineeship with the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit to benefit from the opportunity to explore a wide range of policy areas, and that’s exactly what I was lucky enough to do. For example, within the same week I would work on three different studies on defence, digital finance and unemployment. My learning curve has been extremely steep and very rewarding.
During my traineeship, I contributed to researching and drafting model answers, a service that provides material for Members to use in their correspondence with the general public. This allowed me to delve into a wide variety of topical subjects, ranging from investment protection agreements to the illegal trade in pets and from the Conference on the Future of Europe to hazardous chemicals in recycled materials.
My traineeship in the Scientific Foresight Unit, which provides advice to Members on scientific and policy options, allowed me to learn about the foresight approach and apply it to exploring impacts and policy considerations, in particular regarding artificial intelligence.
During my traineeship in the IT Unit, I worked on an open data project to support the DG’s policy analysts in their research. Besides exploring implementation of AI solutions and comparing different technologies, I was also able to gather a lot of insights into the work of the EPRS.
During my traineeship, I contributed to the drafting of publications relating to the issue of mis- and disinformation, with a particular focus on how the issue has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. I was also tasked with editing publications on a wide variety of interesting topics, as well as with updating the EPRS blog.
I participated in the elaboration of a pilot project regarding a pre-legislative analysis of five topics in the Commission Work Programme during my traineeship with the Linking the Levels unit. The work consisted of researching the different levels of government (national, regional local), and contacting partners in the different organisations to get their input on our research. I also helped with the unit newsletters and with work on a new IT tool in collaboration with the IT Unit.
My traineeship included contributing to several briefings or papers through researching and editing information for the Budgetary Policies Unit in the Members’ Research Service. For example, I rendered numeric information from the plenary session, which was then published in a briefing on establishing a contingency plan for the European Union multiannual financial framework.
As a trainee working in the Strategy and Innovation Unit, my tasks were very diverse. I was in regular contact with many Members’ offices and provided them with pertinent EPRS research tailored to their needs. What’s more, I created videos for social media on the basis of EPRS publications, for example on health inequalities in the EU.
Working in the Scientific Foresight Unit and the European Science Media Hub during the coronavirus pandemic has been a really stimulating experience – I had a fantastic opportunity to interview leading researchers for articles exploring the crisis on the European Science Media Hub (ESMH) website, for example on lockdown easing and the United Kingdom perspective.
I contributed to drafting publications related to the activities of the European Council during my traineeship, including the EU27 leaders’ video-conference on 26 March 2020 to address the socio-economic impact of Covid-19. Moreover, I was involved in analysing the discourse of European Council members on EU policy areas via social media and creating extensive data set with key facts and figures on the European Council.
As a trainee in the Financial Management Unit, I updated the DG EPRS Manual of Financial Procedures, which I also presented in an online meeting with all financial initiators. Currently, I’m analysing the Public Procurement procedures to assess to compliance with good practices.