NEWS20 October 2023

UKRI expands fellowship scheme

News Public Sector UK

UK – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has doubled the scale of its Policy Fellowships programme and expanded the range of research disciplines involved.

Wooden blocks spelling the word 'policy'

Following a pilot by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in 2021, 44 academic fellows will work in 21 government departments and five What Works Centres across the UK.

The new fellows will focus on areas such as building a green future, securing better health, ageing and wellbeing, tackling infections, building a secure and resilient world, creating opportunities and improving outcomes, and data and evaluation.

The policy fellowships will support policymakers to access and use the most relevant research when developing and implementing new policies, as well as developing strong research, science and technology capabilities within the civil service and research organisations.

As part of the scheme, the fellows are managed as a cohort, connecting them, the partner organisations and their universities to build new networks and peer support groups.

Stian Westlake, executive chair at the ESRC, said: “This programme represents a major increase of UKRI’s investment in connecting research and policy. It will put some of the UK’s brightest researchers at the heart of government, to help inform the way policy is made.

“We are building on the success of the 2021 pilot by doubling the size of the programme, increasing the range of research and scientific disciplines involved and embedding policy fellows in almost every UK government department and all three devolved administrations.

“It will provide a significant increase in the science and research capabilities of government and will boost the positive impact of scientific research on public policy.”