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: Closed
Call opening date: 2019
Call closing date: 2019
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.
The host partners for the 2018-19 competition round are:
- Age UK - external link
- Centre for Science & Policy (CSaP) - external link
- Committee on Climate Change - external link
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport - external link
- Department for Education - external link
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) - external link
- Department for International Development (DFID) - external link
- Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) - external link
- Food Standards Agency - external link
- Government Office for Science (GO-Science) - external link
- Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) - external link
- HM Courts & Tribunals Services - external link
- Home Office - external link
- Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) - external link
- National Assembly for Wales Research Service - external link
- National Library of Scotland - external link
- Natural England - external link
- Northern Ireland Assembly Research & Information Service (RaISe) - external link
- Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST) - external link
- PHG Foundation - external link
- Public Health England - external link
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) - external link
- Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) - external link
- Select Committees, House of Commons - external link
- Sentencing Council - external link
- The National Archives - external link
- The Royal Society - external link
- The Royal Society of Biology - external link
- WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) - external link
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 2019 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)
- Urban Green Infrastructure - external link
- Negative Emissions Technologies - external link
- Selection of Marine Conservation Zones - external link
- Biodiversity & Planning Decisions - external link
- Balancing Nature and Agriculture - external link
Centre for Science & Policy
- Project on horizon scanning - external link
- Science & Technology Dimensions of Emerging Public Policy Issues through Horizon Scanning research article - external link
The Research Service (RS, National Assembly for Wales)
The Royal Society
- Constructive debate on the diverse issues of biodiversity offsetting - blog post - external link
- What is 'Sustainable Intensification'? - blog post - external link
Previous Policy Internships competition rounds
All RCUK Policy Interns are required to complete a reporting and feedback form within one month of completing their internship. These forms should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NERC Research Careers 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)