NEWS21 November 2022

Academics to join UK parliament

News People UK

UK – The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is set to appoint three academic researchers, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), aiming to strengthen evidence-based policymaking.


The postholders will each join new thematic policy hubs bringing together staff from POST, the House of Commons Library and Select Committee teams, with the aim of improving the flow of research information through parliament.  

Tamsin Edwards, reader in climate change at King’s College London, will lead on climate and environment; University of Leicester associate professor in European politics, Rick Whitaker, will lead on parliament, public administration and constitution; and Kristen Harkness, director of the Institute for the Study of War and Strategy at University of St Andrews, will lead on international affairs and defence. 

The research leads will share policy-focused research with MPs, Lords and those working in parliament.

Patrick Vallance, government chief scientific adviser, said: “The role of research and evidence in policy making has never been more important. Building on the work of POST, these fellowships will play a vital role, giving parliamentarians further access to the very best independent evidence to inform their business and ensure effective and equitable policy.” 

The ESRC previously worked with POST to develop a Knowledge Exchange Unit, establishing a link between parliament and the social research community.

Alison Park, interim executive chair of the ESRC, said: “I look forward to seeing the ways in which these roles put research evidence at the heart of parliament’s work to address the most pressing societal challenges. In particular, I hope this new investment will continue to build the capability of parliament to work with academics, as well as helping to create a new generation of policy-minded academics.” 

Adam Afriyie MP, chair of the POST board, said: “This collaboration is a real opportunity to ensure that impartial evidence and research are at the heart of our parliament. These new posts will ensure that MPs and policy makers can find relevant and, crucially, accurate data at a time when it is more vital than ever.”