Pre-announcement: ESRC policy fellowships 2021

Apply for funding to spend a year collaborating with a UK or devolved government host organisation.

You will:

  • co-design research with the government host organisation to inform policy on a priority policy area
  • help improve the exchange of knowledge between policy and academic institutions.

You must:

  • be a social science-focused researcher based at an eligible UKRI research organisation
  • have a PhD or equivalent experience.

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost of the fellowship. Funding lasts up to 18 months to cover:

  • inception phase for project set up: three months
  • placement with department: 12 months
  • impact phase: up to three months.

This fellowship is available on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Who can apply

This opportunity will be open to applicants with a PhD or equivalent and is likely to be of particular interest to early to mid-career academics.

As well as relevant subject matter or methodological expertise, experience of working in a policy and knowledge exchange context will be beneficial.

Once the opportunity is open, this page will list the specific opportunities available. This will include full details on policy areas and relevant disciplines as well as eligibility and requirements, including security clearance for some opportunities.

What we're looking for

ESRC intends to fund a number of policy fellowships across a range of UK and devolved government hosts.

Fellows will:

  • provide research and expert advice on the host’s policy priority areas, including co-designing and delivering projects and activities
  • engage in knowledge exchange (KE) activities across government and academia
  • join a cohort of fellows to build longer-term networks across research and policy.

Fellowships will focus on key policy priority areas for each host, which will be set out in detail in the call. Topics are likely to relate to cross-cutting themes such as:

  • net-zero
  • levelling up and tackling inequalities
  • specific policy areas like education, foreign policy and crime.

Fellowships may also have a methodological focus, for example on novel approaches to policy evaluation, evidence synthesis or analysis of new datasets.

These fellowships will offer an exciting opportunity to develop your career and enhance your understanding of applying research in government contexts.

Fellows will be uniquely positioned to build connections between the policymaking and science community. As well as generating and sharing new knowledge and insights on effective policy collaboration with the wider research community and with funders including ESRC.

Awards will last up to 18 months, funded at 80% full economic cost (FEC).

Fellowships will start with a three-month part-time inception phase to co-produce project scope and for security clearance. The main secondment phase of between six and 12 months can be undertaken full or part time (0.5 full time equivalent (FTE) minimum).

Fellowships will complete with a part-time phase of up to three months for fellow-led knowledge exchange, impact and publication activity. Location requirements will vary depending on the opportunity and will be specified in the full call.

As a successful fellow, your benefits will include:

  • undertake cutting edge research, further scientific knowledge and potentially access new and novel data
  • opportunity to inform decision-making on the most pressing policy problems of our time
  • a better understanding of government analysis, operations, policymaking, data usage, and priority areas for research
  • ability to build your network of policy and analytical professionals within government
  • opportunity to join a cohort of academic researchers across government working to address complex policy questions
  • potential to influence future policy-academia collaborations
  • opportunity for dual publication across policy and academia, subject to clearance processes.

During your placement, you will have line management and support from the host organisation, and throughout your fellowship you will also regularly engage with and receive support from ESRC.

In addition, if you are an early career researcher you will benefit from funded mentorship support from a more senior researcher in your organisation. Fellows will also be able to access funding for additional project-specific training or mentorship identified during the inception phase.

How to apply

When the opportunity is in launched, proposals should be prepared and submitted using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

Candidates will need to state explicitly for which government placement they are applying.

Full information, including information on eligible costs, will be provided on this page when the opportunity is launched.

How we will assess your application

Ask a question about this opportunity

The opportunity will be managed by ESRC’s Public Policy and Engagement team.

However, please note no additional information about the opportunity will be provided in advance of its full publication.


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