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Research Internships Marine Biology UC

Hands On Marine Biologists UC

The physical and intellectual campus of ECIM is an internationally-acclaimed marine laboratory that is known for multidisciplinary research, education and outreach that is world-class.

To help make ECIM available to PUC undergraduate students, ECIM offers hands-on educational opportunities that immerse students in our research team and projects during periods of summer and winter vacations.

These experiences are intense – students undertake diverse activities (field, laboratory and “office” work) to obtain relevant research experience.

Hands On Biólogos Marinos UC

The short experiences often focus on regular responsibilities / activities related to monitoring programs that provide opportunities to work in different labs and learn multiple skills and scientific approaches. Further, students may also obtain more in-depth experience to a particular topic by focusing majority or their time in a specific lab guided by an ECIM investigator.

Students must participate in lab meetings, seminars, and discussion groups in order to see how science and research works “behind the scenes”. Participation in science and conservation outreach activities provides experience in effectively engaging a broader audience to expand scientific literacy and environmental stewardship.

The daily work schedule is variable, as much depends on the tides and biological clocks of study organisms – so it may be necessary to work weekends or nights.



During winter vacations – ECIM receives PUC students during two one-week sessions. While most students attend one session, some may be able to participate for a more extended experience (depending on space and availability of ECIM researchers).

During summer vacations – ECIM receives PUC students for a minimum stay of two weeks during a 3-week session in January. Extended stays beyond 3 weeks may be available and can be requested at time of application.



Students must be currently matriculated at PUC and have activated their student health and accident insurance

How much does it Cost?


Costs for PUC students to participate in short hands-on practical experiences at ECIM are limited to subsidized fees related to ECIM’s on-site housing (if needed). No meals are provided. Access to the fully-equipped communal kitchen and dining facilities is restricted to ECIM residents. Click here for estimate of current housing costs and subsidies for PUC students.

How to Apply


Please submit a completed ECIM Application Form as an attachment to an email to ewieters@bio.puc.cl. Please list in the email subject line the students name and PUC. Acceptance decisions are based on ECIM availability, student’s academic performance and prior experience at ECIM. Preference will be given to PUC students of Marine Biology. We do our best to assure all PUC students have opportunity to participate at least once during their academic development. Many students return multiple times.
For additional information please contact Evie Wieters: ewieters@bio.puc.cl

ECIM Application Form



    (*) All fields are required

    Here – for International Students

    We believe strongly in learning by doing. Our intensive, individually-tailored internship programs challenge students to investigate their potential in a future research career by actively making discoveries and conducting science firsthand.

    Undergraduate and graduate students from universities worldwide integrate into an active research team and work alongside local academic scientists in a collaborative fashion.

    Here – for International Students

    Students are immersed in all aspects of a research environment – participating in field, laboratory, and analytical office work, as well as discussion groups, seminars and organizational meetings that reveal how research works “behind the scenes”. They are expected to communicate their research findings to professional peers and are encouraged to participate in activities geared toward school-aged students and the general public.

    Research Experience Program


    offers short-term research training opportunities for motivated undergraduates who wish to supplement their coursework with hand’s-on experience and participate in relevant, ongoing research projects.  In addition to regular responsibilities related to monitoring programs that provide opportunities to work in different laboratories and learn multiple skills and scientific approaches, students may be linked with scientist-mentors (usually composed of a faculty mentor plus 1-2 research assistants, technicians, grad students or post-docs) and are encouraged to become semi-independent collaborators on focused projects.  The mentors and projects vary according to the developing research interests on-going at ECIM.  These experiences are open to undergraduate or post-graduate students from any academic institution, with a required minimum stay of 1 month.

    Research Apprentices and Foreign Thesis Experiences


    are offered to motivated advanced undergraduate and post-graduate students looking to lead original, structured research on a selected topic. Apprenticesare expected to participate in a broad array of research activities derived from ongoing studies that tackle diverse sets of problems, thus gaining diverse skills and interdisciplinary perspectives. However, the majority of their time is focused on developing a semi-independent research project guided by an ECIM investigator.  The complexity of the question a student is able to tackle is time-dependent and reliant upon the student’s background.  At the end of the apprenticeship, students present their research in a short oral presentation and write a scientific paper describing their work.  These experiences are tailor-made, so as to incorporate interests/goals of the student and meet all program requirements. Research Apprenticeships are offered throughout the year, with a minimum stay of 3 months (though 5+ months is recommended)

    Ocean Science Outreach Education Apprenticeships


    are offered to undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in developing and implementing educational modules based on ECIM research.  With the goal of increasing ocean and scientific literacy, as well as environmental stewardship, projects may focus on outreach activities and/or dissemination of research discoveries.  To gain concrete and operative marine science research experience, students actively participate in ongoing research activities derived from diverse, ongoing projects.  However, the majority of their time is focused on developing an innovative educational project in collaboration with an ECIM investigator and education specialists from ECIM’s Interactive Educational Aquarium.  Projects range from developing practical demonstrations, engaging interactive activities, audiovisual materials, education modules for school-aged children, and press releases to designing/implementing nature education trails.  At the end of the apprenticeship, students present their work in a short oral presentation.  These experiences are tailor-made, so as to incorporate interests/goals of the student and meet all program requirements. Education Apprenticeships are offered throughout the year, with a minimum stay of 3 months.

    How Much Does It Cost?


    Unfortunately, we do not have fellowships for the internships and so you provide your own support.  However, costs are very reasonable and split into 2 categories:  1) A once-off Program Fee and 2) A monthly fee.  Together, these include all laboratory and research fees, as well as housing within ECIM (but not food).  Note that these fees are the same regardless of housing useage.  Click here for current fees.

    ** Note:  If students are unable to obtain funding from home university or other, they can apply for an ECIM-sponsored student subsidy to help cover partial or full cost of the once-off Program Fee. Click Here to download and complete the Fee Waiver Application Form.

    Quotes by Past Interns/Students


    “Working at ECIM gave me the opportunity to develop both personally
    and professionally.  My experiences there cemented my love of ecology
    and reinforced my understanding of the ecological principles for which
    ECIM is so well known.”

    “Mi experiencia en ECIM me dio varios oportunidades para desarrollo personal y profesional. Llegando a ECIM para hacer una pasantilla de verano me presentó al mundo de ecología intermareal. Me enamoré del intermareal rocoso de Chile y empecé un proyecto con el apoyo de la gente de ECIM. Además, mejoré mis capacidades de hablar castellano durante mi tiempo de pasantilla. A través de mi pasantía en ECIM pude hacer contactos profesionales que mantenía por años hasta volver a ECIM!”

    “Mi estancia en ECIM fue una época inolvidable. Como Europeo, cambiar de continente para realizar una pasantía es una decisión complicada de tomar. Sin embargo, desde el primer momento que llegue a la magnífica estación marina de Las Cruces supe que había acertado. La internacionalidad y la calidad de la ciencia realizada en ECIM es enorme. Y trabajar delante del Océano Pacífico? Sin palabras…”

    How To Apply


    Please submit a completed ECIM Application Form, a personal statement, and Fee Waiver Application Form (if applicable) as attachments to an email to ewieters@bio.puc.cl.  Please list in the email subject line the students name and the HERE.  We strongly encourage electronic submission of a .pdf (Adobe PDF format) document and, if possible, submit all forms and personal statement as attachments in one email.

    Personal Statement: Please provide a statement of approx. ½-1 page which describes how the ECIM research experience or apprenticeship will help you achieve your professional/career goals.  If you have particular preference as to area of research or which ECIM investigator/lab you would like to work, please include in the letter.

    For additional information please contact Evie Wieters:  ewieters@bio.puc.cl

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Where is ECIM located?


    ECIM is a campus of Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) located in the small town of Las Cruces on the central coast, approximately 115 km west of Santiago.

    How do I get to ECIM?


    Students will need to arrange their own travel to ECIM.  Most students arrive to Santiago (Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport) and travel straight on to ECIM.  Travel from the airport to ECIM by bus combinations is easy (and safe) and usually takes about 3 hours.

    From Airport to Las Cruces:  The airport’s official bus transport will take you to the main bus terminal in Santiago center, where you can then get a bus to Las Cruces.  Upon exiting baggage claim and customs at the airport, go directly outside to the curb and look for the “TurBus Aeropuerto” bus that will take you to the Tur Bus Terminal, which is located at the Universidad de Santiago Metro Station in downtown Santiago.  There are buses leaving approx. every 30 min. between 5:00am-1:00am. Once arrive at the TurBus terminal, you can purchase and get a bus directly to the coast/Las Cruces (no need to leave/change terminal/bus station) – there are usually buses leaving approx. every hour up to around 9pm.  When purchasing ticket to Las Cruces – make sure it is NOT via Casablanca-Algorrobo, as this bus does not make it all the way to Las Cruces (just to El Quisco).  The route should go via Autopista del Sol and Cartagena.  Once on the bus, a person will come by and ask you where you want to get off.  You say “Las Cruces, Municipalidad” (there are 2 options for Las Cruces: Carabineros o Municipalidad – choose Municipalidad).

    From the Municipalidad to ECIM:  To get to ECIM from the Municipalidad bus stop you can either take a taxi (< 5 min. ride) or walk (15-20 minute walk).  Taxis are usually available and waiting at the bus stop.

    Can I commute daily from Santiago?


    No, it is not possible for students to commute from Santiago on a daily basis.  It may, however, be possible to go on the occasional weekend.

    What are the housing accommodations like?


    We are proud of our facilities.  Dormitories have comfortable, multiple occupancy (max. 2-4) rooms, each with own bathroom.  Each student dorm room contains regular length single beds, desk space with ample lighting, two chairs, and closet space.  The bathroom has a shower and bathtub.

    Do I need to bring my own bedding?


    No.  Sheets, blanket, and pillow with pillowcase are provided.  However, students should bring their own towel.

    Can I find independent housing and live off-campus?


    No, in general it is not possible.  Students are required to live and work/study on the ECIM campus full time.  However, we do understand that there can be exceptional circumstances.  Any students seeking to live outside ECIM campus and housing must obtain direct permission from the Director of ECIM.  Note that all costs/fees are the same regardless of use of ECIM housing.

    Is there a grocery store and restaurants within walking distance?


    Yes.  Grocery store, vegetable markets, fish market, as well as multiple restaurants are within 10-15 min. walk.  If special items not found in Las Cruces are required, the nearby city of San Antonio is easily reached by taxi, collective, or minibus (< 20 min. ride).

    May I have visitors at ECIM?


    No overnight visitors are allowed at ECIM.

    To receive daytime visitors, prior permission is required.