Aims to advance the transatlantic community’s strategic thinking on the security challenges facing the Baltic-Nordic region, from armed or cyber attacks to threats against social cohesion and energy security.

Photo:Robert Reisman



ICDS welcomes applications from any outstanding candidate with the potential to make a significant contribution to our work. Those with relevant education and/or experience in our areas of research, especially current postgraduate students, are particularly welcome to apply given the heavy research focus of our internship program. However, we also invite submissions from others with a very high level of interest in foreign and security policy.

As an operationally-independent organization affiliated with the Ministry of Defence, ICDS provides successful applicants with practical experience in conducting research for a wide range of consumers, including top government officials. Our interns are thus able to do substantive work with both analytical and practical impact; previous participants in our internship program have, for example, written articles for our magazine Diplomaatia, submitted memoranda to government officials to use in preparation for meetings at the NATO and EU level, and designed events featuring leading scholars and government officials in their fields of interest. Working closely with ICDS experts, interns receive regular feedback on their writing and other tasks while gaining a deeper understanding and awareness of how foreign and security policy is made. They also enjoy access to invaluable networking opportunities throughout the academic, diplomatic, government, and policy communities in Tallinn, the Nordic-Baltic region, and beyond.

ICDS internships are unpaid and can be either full- or part-time positions (located either in our Tallinn office or remotely), depending on an individual’s interest and on the demands of a given research program. The exact nature of an intern’s work will depend on the issue area and time of year but generally includes research, writing, and administrative tasks such as assisting with conference organization & planning. We are also willing to consider proposals to assist and expand our efforts in other areas of operation, from social media outreach to translation or proofreading and beyond—including innovative suggestions that include aspects perhaps not listed here.

General Requirements:

  • Native or near-native reading and writing proficiency in English
  • Willingness to demonstrate initiative combined with an ability to follow instructions
  • Professional work ethic and careful attention to detail
  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Broad commitment to the goals expressed in the ICDS vision statement

To be included in our file, please submit a CV and a short cover letter to Junior Research Fellow Anna Bulakh (anna.bulakh[@]icds.ee). Your cover letter should not repeat the information found in your CV, but instead should detail the ways that you might contribute to the Centre’s work if selected.

We will keep your information on file for future opportunities, and contact you in the future should your qualifications best suit any opportunities that may arise.

Due to the high volume of emails we receive, we regret that we cannot acknowledge all applications; only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Supervisory board

Chairman of the Board

Mikk Marran
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence

Members of the Board

Merle Maigre
Security adviser to the President of the Republic of Estonia

Marko Mihkelson
Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee, Estonian Parliament

Kristjan Prikk
Office of National Security Co-ordinator, Government Office of the Republic of Estonia

Tanel Ross
Chairman of the Management Board, Estonian Health Insurance Fund

Lieutenant General Riho Terras
Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces

International Advisory Board


General Sir Garry Johnson
Chairman of the International Advisory Board


Alyson Bailes
Visiting Professor at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik

Ambassador Matthew Bryza
Non-Resident Senior Fellow, the Atlantic Council of the United States

Ambassador Per Carlsen
Ambassador of Denmark to Latvia

Risto Penttilä
CEO of the Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland

Tomas Ries
Senior Lecturer at the Swedish National Defence College

Jamie Shea
Director of Policy Planning in the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General

György Schöpflin
Member of the European Parliament

General Franz Werner
Member of the International Security Assistance Board

Vision Statement

The mission of the ICDS is to become the regional hub of first choice for the security and defence communities of Estonia and her Euro-Atlantic Allies in accessing cutting edge analysis of international security and defence issues. The threefold purpose of ICDS research is to:

  • Strengthen Estonia’s defence sector by identifying best practices;
  • Sharpen strategic thinking in NATO and the EU on security issues in the Baltic-Nordic region; and
  • Deepen appreciation for Estonia’s contributions to Euro-Atlantic security through Estonia’s participation in international military operations; leadership on cyber security; and experience with security, political, and economic reforms.

ICDS will accomplish this mission by being a credible thought leader for two audiences: Estonian and Euro-Atlantic.

Within Estonia, ICDS will aim to guide the thinking of Estonia’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), Military Forces, and full range of national security policymakers in Government and Parliament in more strategic directions, while also responding to their specific research requests. ICDS will also provide the Estonian public analysis of international affairs that are of particular relevance to Estonia and its Euro-Atlantic Allies.

Beyond Estonia, ICDS will offer insights on the security challenges in the Baltic-Nordic region, as well as the Baltic-Nordic region’s perspectives on broader issues that are relevant to the Euro-Atlantic community.

ICDS will organise its research around two broad concepts, Defence Management and Security Policy. Each concept will contain several main research areas.

Defence Management

  • Estonia’s national security planning, institution development, and management;
  • Estonia’s participation in international coalition military operations; and
  • Foresight analysis of security-related science and technology.

Security Policy

  • Baltic-Nordic security (in a Trans-Atlantic context);
  • Cyber security (political and policy aspects);
  • Russian external security policies;
  • Energy security (in the Baltic-Nordic region and broader Eurasia); and
  • Eastern Partnership and Balkan countries’ security and internal reforms.

ICDS’s monthly journal, Diplomaatia, will be restructured in line with this vision statement.

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