Internship Offer: Ecuador Expedition

24. 2. 2021 -

Are you an adventurous and resourceful person? Do you want to experience research in the middle of the rainforest? Are you a team player who is able to adapt to unexpected situations? Then join us for an internship in Ecuador…

Call open until 31/3/2021

We are delighted to announce a call for proposals for a research expedition in ECUADOR.


The expedition is a part of a project organized by UNIDA, Consortium United for the Development of the Amazon, and it is a platform of universities, non-government organizations, and private companies that is dedicated to sustainable development in Amazonia. MENDELU takes part in a stage of the project that involves bringing students from Brno in the area and enable them field research which the local community will benefit from. The participants will conduct their research under the guidance and supervision of experts from the local area and from their home university too.


Would you like to know more about the expedition?


WHERE: a refugio near Gualaquiza, Morona Santiago, Ecuador (5 hours from Cuenca by car)

WHEN: August and September 2021 (the dates will be specified but expect 30 days in Ecuador)

WHO: all MENDELU students in Bachelors and Masters study programmes who will still be in their studies in winter term 2021 to be able to defend their results

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS: English (to be able to communicate at the Universidad del Azuay) and ideally also Spanish (to be able to communicate with the locals - start learning now)

FINANCIAL CONDITIONS: The monthly scholarship counts CZK 20,000 plus IRO covers travel expences to/from destination.



How to apply?


SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: submission of a proposal to IRO (OMVI) MENDELU by mail "" → pre-selection of applicants (April) → committee final selection (April/May)

GENERAL CONDITIONS: same as for other bilateral mobilities; scholarship will be administrated under program “International mobilities of students with academic staff


Your proposals in English or Spanish will include

-          CV (1page)

-          motivation letter (1 page)

-          research proposal (1page - see the topics below and discuss your suggestions with the respective academics)


Research areas:

Indigenous Culture Protection (dr. Miroslav Horák)

Microfinancing (dr. Martin Hrabálek)

Ecosystem Services and their Usage by the Local Communities (dr. Jiří Schneider)

Traditional Amazon Medicine (dr. Miroslav Horák)

Community-based Tourism (dr. Jiří Schneider)

Mapping the Area (dr. Petr Jelínek)

Reforestation of the Amazon Landscape (dr. Petr Jelínek)


If you want to apply and you have questions concerning your research project, contact the respective academic. If you have your own proposal, feel free to apply too.

Note that the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide is a force majeure and therefore the expedition cannot be guaranteed. 



Thematic areas of student research project:

Protection of native culture - Indigenous Culture Protection: a student who will deal with this topic will focus mainly on Shuar culture, local habits and traditions, e.g. with regards to folklore (so-called folktaxonomy) of medicinal plants, different time perceptions, food system, etc.


Microfinance - Student activities will deal with small business plans in a selected area (especially focusing on agroecology and tourism) in cooperation with amazonia verde s.r.o. and local businesses (Edwin López Paucar, Raywana Guayusa Ltd.). On the principle of microfinance, where small amounts of money allow locals to begin and finance various types of activities, is also possible to show development "from below", with local people as important actors. The impact of these projects on local development or the position of particular individuals, families and communities will be examined, for example through structured interviews to see specific impact on changes in human destinies and their development.


Ecosystem services and their usage by local communities - student activities will focus on analysis of the main sources of ecosystem services (land usage - forests, agricultural land, water resources, etc.) and their management, usage and importance for the local population. The first step will be collection of available data (documents, maps) on the state of the territory/region, the second step will be a questionnaire survey focused on the priorities and ways of using ecosystem services by local people. The output will be the identification of the most important benefits, values ​​and preferences, and also problems (shortcomings, conflicts of interest between different groups of stakeholders) in the use of benefits provided by ecosystems, local people. Typical example of this issue is various forms of rainforest usage - how effectively combine protection of biodiversity, recreational and other cultural functions plus the production of natural resources - food, medicine or wood. What the locals use the most often, what is important for them and how to use the rainforest so as not to disrupt its other benefits for the local people.


Traditional Amazonian medicine - selected student will focus mainly on the health benefits of wayus usage (Ilex guayusa) and will do emic research among Shuary to collect data about wayus ceremony (i.e. the narratives of the participants). Thanks to this, knowledge of the issue, contained in the book publications of the Amazonía unida consortium 1 and 2, will be widen.


Ecotourism - Community-based Tourism: analysis of local initiatives for the development of ecotourism and their impact on the environment. Field research in the ethnobotanical garden led by Gal Nase Wajai Shiki. A digital herbarium of useful plants creation supplemented by transcripts of native legends and myths.


Reforestation of the Amazon Landscape and maping : nature survey, use of remote research, landscape revitalization project.


The task will be to process the area from the point of view of nature and agroforestry, it concerns a scientific mapping of the surroundings of El Paraíso, as the reserve itself has been researched quite well. Nature return projects and support for revitalization processes will follow. One student will lead mapping of the forest communities and reconstruct maps of native vegetation in places where these communities were destroyed. Remote research of the country will be used. Another one will follow up on ethnobotanical research that took place in the locality earlier, and two students will focus on projects to improve the environment in degraded parts of the purchased areas. The plan is a small agroforestry project using local tree species and utility crops and then a project aimed to return the forest to degraded places. The activity will be necessary to supplement and adapt on the spot, according to the current state of vegetation and the needs of the Bosque Medicinal organization.