Policy internships

The Policy Internships Scheme provides the opportunity for PhD students funded by the research councils of UK Research & Innovation to work for three months in one of a selected group of highly influential policy organisations.

Next funding opportunity

Call status: This call opens on 14 July 2020.  Closing at 16.00 on 10 September 2020


The research councils organise the Policy Internships Scheme for current research council-funded PhD students to work at host partner organisations on one or more policy topics relevant to both the student and the host. The student will be expected to produce at least one briefing paper, participate in a policy inquiry and/or organise a policy event, or equivalent piece of work.

Internships are available with a number of parliamentary departments, government departments and non-governmental bodies, learned societies and other organisations.


Internships are financially supported by the research councils and host partners. For all students, PhD stipend and fees should continue to be paid by the research organisation throughout the three month internship period. Students can also claim for eligible travel and accommodation costs incurred during the internship up to a maximum limit of £2,400 per student. The funding details will depend on the applicant's research council and the chosen host partner. Applicants should review the applicant guidance for full details of the funding arrangements for NERC students.


This scheme is open to PhD students funded by the research councils of UK Research & Innovation including NERC. Internships will take place during 2021 and students must be able to start their internship before the end of their funded period of study.

How to apply

Full details of how to apply, including links to the online application form and guidance documents are available through the UK Research & Innovation policy internships page - external link.

Examples of previous work

Follow the links below to examples of work that PhD students contributed to during their policy internships:

Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST)

Centre for Science & Policy

The Research Service (RS, National Assembly for Wales)

Biodiversity Offsetting research paper (PDF, 662KB) - external link

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): The authorisation process for cultivation (PDF, 201KB) - external link

The Royal Society

Previous Policy Internships competition rounds

All UKRI Policy Interns are required to complete a feedback form within one month of their internship end date. Interns will be provided with a link to an online feedback form once their internship has been confirmed.


NERC Talent & Skills Team

What do past interns say about their experiences?

Below are some quotes from some past interns. For more details of how a policy internship can be beneficial, please read each of the case studies:

The most enjoyable thing was just being there, right in Westminster, and feeling like you were at the centre of power. But also knowing that you're potentially influencing MPs and Lords by presenting the information you think they really need to know about.

- Lyndsey Dodds
Lyndsey's case study (PDF, 288KB)

I always wanted to be a scientific advisor in government, that was my dream.

- Nicola Ranger
Nicola's case study (PDF, 403KB)