Nudge Theory Internship with Zero Waste Scotland

Location: Stirling
£9.00 per hour
Full-time for 6 months
Immediate start
Closing date: 1 October 2019, 12 noon
Interview date: 18 October 2019 in Stirling

About the Company

Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy.

We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.

Learn more about ZWS here.

The Role

One of Zero Waste Scotland’s key objectives is to change people’s behaviours so that they choose to live more sustainably and consume materials more responsibly. One way of achieving behaviour change is by “nudging” people to do things a bit differently. Nudge theory involves using gentle and perhaps unconscious persuasion or making subtle changes to situations to enable people to behave in a particular way. In order to understand what the nudge might be and how it should be applied, it is necessary to understand why the current behaviours exist and how these could be changed.

Zero Waste Scotland is looking to work with a school to undertake a nudge experiment to determine how food waste in the school dining hall could be reduced through behaviour change. The closed environment will provide a real-life situation where behaviours can be observed and a nudge could be employed and monitored to determine impacts on wastes generated. This study will then be communicated externally through an engaging case study that would help others to follow the methodology and apply it to their own situations.

This project is an exciting opportunity for an intern to gain experience of applying nudge theory to a real-life situation to change behaviours. The successful candidate will undertake a variety of tasks:

The internship will include the following activities:

• Understand the concept of Nudge Theory, the methodological approach to the pilot, and the fit to Zero Waste Scotland’s wider behaviour change ambitions
• Understand the problem that will be addressed through the nudge intervention -this will involve engagement of both internal and external stakeholders
• Collect quantitative data about the degree of the problem at the outset
• Develop a methodology based on an existing framework
• Undertake a behaviour observation exercise
• Consider solutions to the problem based on the observations
• Pilot the solution(s) with a robust analytical approach and take observations and measurements to determine success
• Make adjustments to the solution, continuing observation and measurements
• Make a recommendation for future permanent solutions
• Draft a case study to help others understand how the pilot was undertaken and how well it worked
• Present the results of the study to colleagues at Zero Waste Scotland and to an external audience if the opportunity is available

To learn more about this role and ZWS organisation culture and values, please view this PDF file.

ZWS offer excellent employee benefits, including a contributory pension scheme, private healthcare, life assurance, employee welfare assistance, generous holidays, enhanced family leave entitlements, continuing professional development (CPD) and volunteering opportunities


Zero Waste Scotland would like to hear from enthusiastic applicants, who are interested in understanding why current human behaviours exist and how these could be changed. You will be a good team player with the ability to work to your own initiative and be adaptable in responding to changing project priorities.

Essential for the job:
• Educated to degree level or experience in a relevant discipline
• If no relevant degree/professional qualification, then must be able to demonstrate relevant specialist experience and an ability to transfer that knowledge to others
• Evidence of taking an organised, pragmatic and methodological approach to projects
• Broad general knowledge of social science
• Experience in the use of IT systems for management and data processing
• Excellent communication skills, with an ability to engage a range of different types of people
• Ability to work on own initiative and enjoy independent working
• Creativity and ability to write engaging content

Desirable and advantageous for the role:
• Experience in research, particularly social research, may be beneficial but is not necessary as the methodology framework will be provided
• An understanding of Nudge Theory and behaviour change science would support delivery of the project
• Experience of developing and executing a project that involved participation of external stakeholders
• An interest in environmental issues, an understanding of the circular economy and a desire to improve the sustainability of Scotland
ZWS welcome applications from all suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status or pregnancy and maternity.

If you have any questions about this role or the organisation please contact Please do not under any circumstances contact the employer directly as doing so may negatively impact your employment opportunity.


Closing date for applications is 1 October 2019, 12 noon.

Interviews are scheduled for 18 October 2019 in Stirling.

Please submit a CV and tailored Cover Letter through the Adopt An Intern online application form on our website.

Examples of what we expect in an application can be found HERE. All applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the closing date. State A) your availability and B) relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description.

We do NOT accept email applications unless otherwise stated.

Successful candidates must, by the start of the employment, have permission to work in the UK.