UCL Public Policy


UCL Policy Fellows

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

Defra - Understanding key innovations in global agriculture

This placement within the Farming Science Evidence and Analysis team at Defra offers an opportunity to directly inform agricultural policy in the UK, by investigating global trends in innovation within the sector. 
This project seeks to identify innovations which are likely to have a significant impact on future productivity growth in arable, dairy, horticulture, livestock and poultry sectors, and where these could be translatable to the UK. The work will learn from global leaders in agricultural production, and the innovations which have underpinned their productivity growth.


British Ecological Society Fellowship

The British Ecological Society is committed to making the best scientific evidence available to decision-makers, and supporting members to build their policy engagement skills and enhance the impact of their work.

With funding of up to £20,000, The BES Policy Fellowship will offer a mid-career ecologist (at least five years post-PhD) the chance to spend up to six months on a placement embedded within Defra or one of its agencies.

To find out more about this fellowship and how to apply visit the BES website

Greater London Assembly: Research Associate Secondment - Higher Education and Innovation

The strength of London’s world-class Higher Education and research base is key to the productivity of London, and the UK as a whole.  The Mayor of London’s response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy supports the need for research and business collaboration so that London businesses, universities and research organisations can continue to work together to preserve and promote economic success, locally and nationally. The main purpose of the role is to ensure that Higher Education is centre stage of the Mayor of London’s Industrial Strategy and to identify practical ways in which university-business collaboration can be increased to maximise innovation and business growth across London’s key sectors.

To apply please send a covering letter (one page) outlining your suitability for the role and a short CV to Katherine Welch (k.welch@ucl.ac.uk).


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

Placements are offered on a flexible (often part-time) basis, generally for 3-6 months in the first instance (with possibility of extension), to suit the circumstances of both researchers and host departments. Placements 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 placement opportunities, manage the administration of the placement, and identify funding where necessary.

Benefits for researchers

Placements 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.

For more information or to have an informal discussion about the programme please contact Katherine Welch (k.welch@ucl.ac.uk) or Olivia Stevenson (o.stevenson@ucl.ac.uk)