Undergraduate Clinical Research Internships

Interested in clinical research? Want to work with internationally renowned Liggins Institute researchers?

2 years part-time internship

Current Liggins interns: Shani Fell-Hakai, Orla Walsh, Thomas McClintock, Lena Jacob and Caitlyn Ulyatt
Current Liggins interns: Shani Fell-Hakai, Orla Walsh, Thomas McClintock, Lena Jacob and Caitlyn Ulyatt

The Liggins Institute has established an undergraduate Clinical Research Internship programme for second year medical students interested in exploring research as part of their future clinical career. 

What does an internship involve?

Interns undertake a two-year programme working within one or more clinical research projects at the Liggins Institute. Successful applicants are assigned supervisors and mentors and also work alongside graduate students at the Liggins Institute. Interns are paid for casual work during the semester and full-time work during the summer breaks.

Interns are involved in completing, presenting and publishing a research project and gain invaluable research skills and experience. There is potential to undertake further formal research training (usually a PhD) at an appropriate stage in their future career, and remain involved in future Liggins research.

This internship has shown me so many pathways within research that I didn't know existed. Anyone even slightly intrigued by a career in research should give it a go, it really is an amazing opportunity.

Shani Fell-Hakai, Liggins Institute Clinical Research Intern

Examples of projects available include:

  • Reducing practice variation in treatment and prevention of low blood glucose levels in newborns
  • Causes, care and prevention of preterm birth
  • Outcomes in adults who were exposed to corticosteroids before birth
  • MRI for early detection of developmental problems in moderate-late preterm babies
  • The role of nutrition in development of immune function in preterm babies
  • The role of nutrition in symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Application process

  • Applications are invited from students in the second year of the Auckland medical programme.
  • Applications should include a CV, including details of previous academic record before medical school if relevant, and a brief (<500 words) expression of interest. This should describe why the applicant is interested in this opportunity and how it might fit into their future plans. Medical school academic records will be made available directly to the selection panel.
  • Applications close on Wednesday, 31 July 2024, and should be emailed to Shekinah Thorstensen: shekinah.thorstensen@auckland.ac.nz
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview in mid-August.
  • Four interns will be selected, based on academic record, commitment, and potential for a future research career.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who do not have previous health or biomedical research experience.

About the Liggins Institute

The Liggins Institute was the University of Auckland’s first large scale research institute and is a world leader in perinatal medicine. The Institute is named after one of New Zealand's most eminent medical scientists, Sir Graham 'Mont' Liggins, who discovered in the late 1960s that corticosteroid treatment of mothers in premature labour would mature babies’ lungs sufficiently for them to survive after birth. This seminal discovery has become standard practice for premature delivery world-wide and has saved millions of babies.

Research at the Liggins Institute is built on this cornerstone discovery and Liggins researchers have demonstrated that events that occur before and during pregnancy can increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes in later life. Current studies within the perinatal research team involve clinical trials with mothers and babies and assessing both short- and long-term outcomes.


Contact Professor Jane Harding: j.harding@auckland.ac.nz

2023 interns seminar

Watch the seminar below to learn more about the Liggins intern programme from Professor Jane Harding and five interns.

2022 interns seminar