May 18, 2021

Economist Service: Research Assistant Program (Singapore)

  • Emily Tan Yi Lyn
  • Singapore
Internship Research Opportunity Skill Building


The Economist Service, under the Ministry of Trade and Finance Singapore, is a professional scheme for the economists in the Singapore public service. Our work involves surveillance of the economic environment, and rigorous, policy-oriented economic research and analysis. As an Economist, you will help to advance economic thought in Singapore’s public policies to shape our nation’s future.

The Economist Service (ES) offers internships to students under the ES Research Assistant Programme. The programme will give you the opportunity to participate in applied research, expand your professional network, and learn more about work in the ES. As an intern, you will assist Economists in MTI or other government agencies in an empirical research project. This project is typically assigned by your supervisor, but we are open to considering project ideas that you may have. At the end of the internship, you will present your findings at internal research meetings.

We offer ten- to twelve-week internships during the following periods of the year:

  1. December to March
  2. May to September

These periods serve as a general guide. Off-cycle internships are possible but depend on the availability of projects and supervisors. The exact start and end dates of each internship will be based on the schedules of the intern and supervisor. To create a more meaningful internship and learning experience, the interns should be able to commit at least ten weeks for the internship on a full-time basis.

Type of Opportunity

Extracurricular Activity

Application Deadline

*refer to "Application Process Includes"

Age Range

GCE A-Levels Students (or qualification with equivalent level)


High (priority will be given to university students in their penultimate year)

Minimum Technical Skill Needed

All internship applicants should have a strong interest in applying Economics to public policy. Interns should also be able to commit at least ten weeks (full-time) to the internship.

Students waiting to enter university should intend to pursue an Economics-related course in university and be interested in empirical Economics-related research. Undergraduate or graduate students should have taken at least intermediate Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics. University applicants with empirical economic research skills and/or prior experience in executing a quantitative/ Economics-related research project will have an advantage. These research skills may include:

  1. Familiarity with a statistical or general-purpose programming language (e.g. Stata, R, Python)
  2. Familiarity with typical techniques used for programme evaluation and causal inference (e.g. instrumental variables, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity designs)
  3. Familiarity with basic data science/ machine-learning techniques and/or web-scraping

Application Process Includes

The internship application should include the following documents:

  1. Basic information (form)
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. A set of your most recent academic results. E.g., latest copy of academic transcript for undergraduates, GCE 'A' level certificate for applicants waiting to enter university.
  4. A writing sample:
  • Pre-university applicants:Please submit a 800-word response to the question: “Should we auction foreign worker permits, much like how we auction Certificates of Entitlement (COEs)?”.

Applications for the internship cycles between December to March, and May to September should be submitted by 1 October and 1 March respectively. Applications for off-cycle internships should be submitted at least 1½ months before your preferred start date for the internship.