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IBM Great Minds Internship & Scholarship for African Students



The Great Minds initiative is a competition for internship of 3 to 6 months at one of the IBM Research Labs in Zurich, Dublin, Nairobi, or Johannesburg for students from central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It provides students a unique opportunity to work alongside world-class scientists in the leading industrial IT research organization.

The internships will take place in 2017. The exact starting time and duration will be agreed upon with the winning students individually, taking into account their academic commitments and the availability of IBM staff.

IBM will pay the winners a lump sum towards travel expenses as well as compensation that covers adequately the cost of living in Switzerland, Ireland, Kenya or South Africa, respectively. IBM will also obtain the necessary visa and work permits for the successful candidates.

IBM Research is conducting the Great Minds internships for the 9th time. The experiences on both sides have been very positive. This program also benefits faculty members when the Great Minds winners bring back to their universities or departments a valuable understanding of real industry problems, knowledge of advanced IBM technologies, and contacts throughout IBM Research.


The program is open to any full-time student enrolled in a Master’s program in

  • Computer Science,
  • Electrical Engineering,
  • Physics,
  • Software Engineering,
  • Industrial Engineering or
  • Service Science

at a recognized university in central or eastern Europe, the Middle East or Africa. The students must have a solid command of the English language in both written and spoken form.

IBM is an equal-opportunity employer and encourages applications from both genders as well as minority groups.

We would especially like to encourage qualified women to participate in this competition.

Nomination procedure

Participants must be nominated by a faculty member. A recommendation letter from a faculty member is mandatory.

To participate in the Great Minds competition, see the detailed instructions for students.


Students need to submit their current CV and a short position paper (1–2 pages).

The CV should include:

  • Information according to the guidelines for writing a CV.
  • Three research areas from the lists of topics in the order of your priority.
  • Possible starting dates and duration of your internship: 3–6 months.

Your CV must include personal information (name, address, phone number, email address) as well as your education, graduation date, skills, and work experience. Please include also any awards and recognition you have received and other activities you consider important for an industry position.

You can find examples and guidelines for creating a strong CV at many different web sites, such as Europass Curriculum Vitae.

Position paper

The position paper (1–2 pages) should address the following points:

  • What do you see as the most interesting and relevant applications in your areas of interest (selected from the lists of topics)?
  • In your opinion, what are the most important technical challenges in these applications?
  • What do you personally want to achieve in these fields?
  • What would you like to accomplish during an internship at IBM Research?

This is not a quiz — there are no right or wrong answers. We encourage you to express your own views and to propose creative and innovative ideas that could be turned into concrete projects. You should inform yourself about the research areas at the IBM Research – Zurich, Ireland and Africa Labs to understand what kind of projects might be possible for you to work on. However, we do not require that you focus on those areas when writing your position paper.

How to apply

Submit your CV and position paper (in English, PDF format) to your nominating professor by 20 February 2017.

IBM University Relations managers in the participating countries and a committee of IBM technical experts will review the nominations received from the professors, from which they will select the best candidates at their discretion. You will be notified by 24 April 2017 whether you are one of the winners.

The winners will start their internships in 2017 on a mutually agreed date. Please don’t forget to propose in your CV possible dates and duration (3–6 months) for your internship.


Deadline for submissions is 20 February 2017.

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