UCL Public Policy


Dr Jo Hale, Policy Connect & All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group

Dr Hale worked with the cross-party think tank, Policy Connect, on their ‘Net Zero Exchanges’ essay collection project.

Dr Jo Hale

22 August 2020

“A policy fellowship gives you the opportunity to try a different way of working, understand more about how research makes an impact in policymaking, expand your network of people interested in your research, and get critical feedback on how you design and communicate research effectively.” 


What was your Fellowship about? 

I worked with the cross-party think tank, Policy Connect, on their ‘Net Zero Exchanges’ essay collection project. The goal of the project was to publish a series of essays on the most pressing areas of climate change policy. Carried out under the auspices of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group (APPCCG), I worked with Members of Parliament in collaboration with stakeholders from industry, academia and the third sector through a series of associated roundtable events. 

Based in Policy Connect’s Sustainability Team, I helped deliver a variety of activities including: organising a roundtable series; synthesising roundtable discussions; and assisting authorship teams with the essay writing process. The final essay collection was launched at a parliamentary reception and became a vital resource for Policy Connect and the APPCCG parliamentary officers as they campaign to drive climate action across government departments.  

What did you learn from your Fellowship? 

I helped to deliver eight roundtables and the associated outputs I produced (e.g. briefing packs, and summary reports) gave me first-hand experience in writing for policy audiences. I developed other skills throughout the Fellowship, in particular brokering and managing relationships between academics and parliamentarians. I was also able to gain a more detailed understanding of Net Zero topic areas. The networking opportunity was also really valuable as I was able to build an awareness of the range of stakeholders working in the Net Zero space, as well as new working relationships with people at Policy Connect. Overall, the Fellowship gave me insight into where my work (pro-environmental behaviour change research) 'fits in' to the landscape of climate policy making. 

What words of advice would you have for other academics?  

If you’re interested in doing a Fellowship, my advice would be to speak to people who have done similar Fellowships - there are lots of people at UCL who are very willing to share what it is like doing a Fellowship, what they gained, what policy hosts are looking for, and tips for making the most of a short placement. 

How did the Fellowship contribute to your career development?  

My Fellowship with Policy Connect in 2020 was an excellent experience that I was able to directly highlight in applying for my current position at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Policy Fellow.