The World Food Prize Foundation

India - MSSRF

MS Swaminathan Research Foundation

The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai, India has hosted seventeen high school interns since 1999.

Established in 1988, the MSSRF is a non-profit research organization that develops and promotes pro-poor, women-centered and environmentally sustainable on-farm and non-farm livelihoods through appropriate eco-technology and knowledge empowerment.

The MSSRF carries out research and development in coastal systems research; biotechnology, biodiversity; bio-village establishment; food security; and information, education and communications.

Interns at the MSSRF work alongside renowned international researchers and experts - like 1987 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Dr. P.C. Kesavan, and Dr. Sudha Nair - in the fields and villages of Puducherry, Aripalapatti, and Pudukottai.

The students also have the opportunity to tour Kemin Industries - a leading food nutrition and bioscience company - and travel around India with their host families and colleagues to visit the Brihadishwara temple, Marina Beach, participate in a Rathotsava festival, the Government Museum of Chennai, Victoria Public Hall, and watch a traditional Bharatanatym dance performance.

India Specific Questions

Suggested Travel Link:

Visa required: Tourist Visa Required

Passport: Required

Travelers Heath & Vaccinations: Visit the CDC website at

Embassies & Consulates Contact:

  • U.S. Embassy New Delhi - Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi - 110021 India

Telephone:+(91)(11) 2419-8000

Emergencies:+(91)(11) 2419-8000

  • U.S. Consulate General Chennai (Madras) -  220 Anna Salai at Gemini circle Chennai, India 600006

Telephone: +(91)(44) 2857-4000

Emergencies:(0) 44-2857-4000 Ask for American Citizen Services

  • U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad - Paigah Palace 1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003 Hyderabad, India

Telephone: +(91)(40) 4033-8300

Emergencies: 4033-8300 Ask for American citizen Services

Geography: Refer back to "International Internship Sites"

Cellular apps (highly suggested to download prior to departure): US Embassy. Airlines the intern will be traveling through. Whatsapp

Images licensed by CC-BY-SA and GFDL (courtesy: PlaneMad, Moham Krishnan, and Dalbera )


Who will pick me up at the airport? Where exactly should I meet this person? Who would I contact and at what phone number if my flight is behind schedule and extremely late in arriving? 

An official cab driver with a placard depicting the intern’s name will be available at the airport on arrival.

What is the weather usually like during the period June through August?

  It will be hot (~100F) and 75-80 % humid in the midday.  

Describe the range of attire required during the internship:

Generally casual, light cotton jeans and top, dresses etc.  One formal wear will do for one or two formal occasions during your stay. Shorts are not entertained within campus. It is however common to see boys / girls in shorts around town, off the campus

What clothing is culturally accepted/common inside and outside the research station for foreigners?

General casual light cotton jeans .. semi formal.

Dorm-style housing? Home-hosing with a family?

They will get an air-conditioned suite (bed room + living room + bath room) with computer &internet in the guest house of the Foundation. However in the field station they may stay in the hotel or in an air-conditioned guest house

Individual or common bathrooms?


Laundry facilities?


Are towels and bedding provided?


Will I need an electrical adapter for my small appliances?

Yes (220 Volts)

Where are meals taken? 

There is a pantry/kitchen attached to the guest house.  There is also a refrigerator in the suite that can be stocked with food of your liking

Will there be other high school or college students living and working there this summer?

More than likely yes.

Is it advisable for me to bring a laptop computer with me? 

Yes, this will be useful.

Will I have access to a work computer?

Yes, in the guest house we have a PC

Will I have Internet access at work? And in my living quarters?

Yes and you can use your personal email email that you already have

Will I receive an orientation to local customs, where I should and should not go, wise safety practice for the area, etc.?  Would such guidance/mentoring throughout the summer come from a person other than my direct project supervisor?  If so, who is the person and how do I contact her/him?

Yes. The project supervisor would help in all aspects. 

Is the workweek Monday through Friday?  The typical workday consists of how many hours?

Monday – Saturday (Full day)  (9.30 a.m – 1 p.m  (1 -2 p.m – lunch)  2-5 p.m )

Second and Fourth Saturdays are holidays as also Sundays

What churches are available in the area of the research center?

A variety of denomination churches are available – Catholics / Protestants  

How can I access currency?  (Is there a bank near the center?)

Through exchange agencies (Thomas Cook, American Express etc) Citi Bank is located at around 2-3 kms distance from the center.  We will provide transport to get these done as and when you need.

What would be an appropriate gift for a host family or summer supervisor?

Its your choice.

In case of a medical need or emergency, is there a clinic or medical facility near the place I will be working?



Will I have a workspace or desk where I can work or study?


Student Research Projects

Exploring the Role and Impact of Community Seed Banks on Women and Tribal Groups in Odisha, India (2023)

An Exploratory Review of the Green Revolution's Connection to Fertilizer Usage, Soil Health, and Sustainable Agriculture in India (2022)

The Potential of Neglected and Underutilized Species to Uplift Rural Livelihoods in India: An Exploratory Review (2021)

Literary Review of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation on Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration, and the Restoration of Livelihood Around Coastal Areas (2021)

Barriers Preventing Mothers with Children Under 2 Years from Consuming Diverse Diets (2019)

Obstacles to Breastfeeding to WHO Guidelines Among Rural Women in the Dindigul District of Tamil Nadu, India: An Exploratory Study (2018)

Measuring the Impact of Village Milk Collection Centers on Women's Socioeconomic Development (2017)

Understanding Food Security through the perspective of Livelihood Capitals and Value Chains (2016)

Communism and Agriculture in the State of Kerala (2015)

The Effects of Adivasi Land Rights on Food Security (2015)

Exploring Water Treatment Practices and Culture (2014)

Examining the Challenges of Weather Volatility for Small-Holder Millet Farmers in the Kolli Hills (2013)

Empowerment through Water Security for Small & Marginal Dalit Farmers (2012)

Analyzing the Benefits and Constraints of Integrated Farming Systems in Coastal Regions of Tamil Nadu (2011)

Examining the Effects of Water Harvesting Structures and Microcredit on Rural Villagers in India (2009)

ICT and Female Empowerment: A Case Study of Embalam Village, Puducherry (2008)

An Examination of Self-Help Groups in Puducherry, India (2007)

Agro-biodiversity Management in India: The Case of Mangroves and Millets (2006)

Assessing the Ability of the Rural Poor to Adapt to Climate Change (2005)

Surveying the role of underutilized crops to improve food security in India (2004)

Investigating the Causes of Micronutrient Deficiencies (2003)

Examining the Benefits of Women Self-Help Groups and Micro-Enterprises (2003)

Global Food Security - Availability, Accessibility and Absorbability (2001)

An Investigation of How Gender is Linked to Food Security in India (2000)

An Analysis of Three Projects at MSSRF (1999)

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