UCL Public Policy


Policy Opportunities

The UCL Policy Fellows programme provides UCL researchers with the opportunity to work directly with policy professionals whilst embedded within a policy environment.

Current opportunities

Secondment opportunities - Defra

Environment & Public Health

Defra is seeking postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers in the area of environment and public health for three secondment opportunities.

Full details are available in the PDF below. Deadline for applications – 11 July, 2022.

Defra secondment opportunities PDF

Other opportunities - managed directly by policy organisations

New opportunities will be posted here as they become available.

About the programme

The UCL Policy Fellows programme aims to:

  • Facilitate engagement between academics and policymakers by:
    • improving the exchange of information (of the latest research and of policy priorities)
    • developing networks between academics and policymakers
    • contributing UCL academic expertise to policy-relevant activity.
  • Enhance mutual understanding of academic research, the development of policy, and the workings of Government.
  • Assist in the development of a culture in which policy implications and influence are considered throughout the research process, and engagement with policy by researchers is encouraged, facilitated and rewarded.
  • Enable the contribution of academic expertise to specific policy activities in the host organisation.

How it works

Fellowships are offered on a flexible (often part-time) basis, generally for 3-6 months in the first instance (with the possibility of extension), to suit the circumstances of both researchers and host departments. Fellowships are offered based on matching general expertise, skills and interests to policy needs, rather than necessarily directly matching a specific project. UCL Public Policy provides support to identify opportunities (eg placements, secondments, parlimentary advisory), manage the administration associated, and identify funding where necessary.


The UCL Policy Fellows programme is funded through an internal grant scheme held by UCL Innovation and Enterprise. Following the confirmation of a placement, candidates must apply for funding through either the Higher Education Innovation Fund (maximum award £15,000) or the UCL EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (maximum award £30,000, additional conditions apply). Funding covers the cost of staff salary (including oncosts but not overheads) for the duration of the placement and will be awarded to the candidates UCL department. Funding is not available for expenses associated with the delivery of the project placement which will be met by the government host department. For more information about fellowship funding please contact Katherine Welch (k.welch@ucl.ac.uk).

Benefits for researchers

Policy Fellowships (eg placements, secondments, parlimentary advisory) enable researchers to work closely with policy professionals and gain direct experience of the process of policy development. As well as developing policy knowledge and the ability to translate research expertise, placements help to develop transferable skills that are useful beyond academia, such as networking, stakeholder engagement, project management, public speaking and negotiating

Benefits for host organisations

Host organisations benefit from the particular skills and expertise of the researcher in helping to inform and shape policy development and have access to some of the latest academic thinking in the relevant area, as well as the researcher’s broader academic networks. Placements also help to develop individual and institutional relationships between academics and policymakers and provide mutual points of contact.

UCL Policy Fellows Highlights

Click here for highlights of some of the work produced by UCL Fellows whilst on policy placements.