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POST's Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme - Directed Call

The Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme is open to university-based researchers and staff working in knowledge exchange. The scheme gives people in those roles the opportunity to participate in a fellowship project with an office in Parliament. It is run by POST's Knowledge Exchange Unit (KEU). The scheme has two streams: a Directed Call and an Open Call.

The Directed Call is currently a rolling scheme, in which UK Parliament issues projects according to its needs.

In the rolling scheme, offices across Parliament issue projects which they would like an academic fellow to conduct. Projects might include contributing to core work of the office, filling gaps in expertise, or building staff capacity and skills. They could include informing parliamentary scrutiny, analysing and evaluating parliamentary practices, or helping to grow Parliament's academic networks.

Fellowship projects for which we are currently seeking fellows are listed here, with details on how to apply listed below.

Current fellowship opportunities

There are currently no opportunities open for application in the Directed Call.


How to apply for a fellowship

Applicants must:

• Identify the project they would like to apply for. You can find more information about a fellowship project by clicking on its title above to open the Fellowship Description document.

• Read the Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme Rolling Directed Call: Guidance Notes for Applicants

• Apply for the opportunity by completing the application form and emailing this to by the deadline specified. Applicants also need to submit a sample of writing for a non-academic audience of between 500–1000 words in the writing sample submission template. We would be grateful if you would also complete a Diversity Monitoring Questionnaire, although this is voluntary. Please submit all documents as electronic copies in MS Word. Please mark the subject line of your email as “PAFS Directed Call: [name of fellowship project] [your surname]”.

When you respond to the questions on the application form, please tell us about your skills/ experience through referral to the criteria listed in the Fellowship Description document.

Once the application window has closed, parliamentary offices will shortlist applicants. They will then hold interviews via telephone or Microsoft Teams. There may also be a further task (e.g. a test, presentation or other assessment) as part of the application process. If an appropriate applicant is identified, they will then be offered the fellowship.

Successful fellows will undergo security clearance to CTC level. More information on security vetting in Parliament can be found here. The host parliamentary office will provide security clearance forms and guidance once an offer has been made.

More information about the scheme is below.

Further information

Who can take part in the scheme? 

Applications are open to all UK-based university researchers who already have a PhD and are employed in a university on an academic contract (and, exceptionally, they are also open to those who don't have a PhD but who are employed in a university on an academic contract and have equivalent experience of a PhD). They are also open to university staff working in impact or knowledge exchange, including staff working in university libraries.

Applicants must have permission to work in the UK. Applicants must also be eligible for a parliamentary pass and will need to receive security clearance from UK Parliament to CTC level. You should be aware that if you have resided outside of the UK for a total of more than two of the last five years, you are not eligible to receive security clearance to work on the Parliamentary Estate.

Applicants should confirm with their Head of Department at their university/ institution, and with the Budget Holder of the proposed source of their funding, that they have their support to undertake the project and confirmation of approval for funding before submitting their application. Confirmation from both parties will need to be given on the application form.

Why take part in the scheme? 

Fellowships have a positive impact on both Parliament and the fellow. They are a key way that research and researchers can impact Parliament. Parliamentary Academic Fellows fill gaps in expertise, and build staff capacity and skills. They inform parliamentary scrutiny, and give Parliament new perspectives on its practices. They grow Parliament's academic networks and improve its knowledge exchange, and enable Parliamentarians and staff to conduct new activities (see our report on the pilot scheme here for more information).

What have outcomes for former fellows looked like?

Outcomes for fellows who have participated in the scheme have included: research impact, increased knowledge of Parliament, and developed networks. They have also included impact on career, impact on own research agenda, publications, and impacts on teaching. Details on the impacts of previous fellowship projects are outlined in the KEU’s report on the pilot scheme, as well as some case studies.

What are the practical arrangements?

The Fellowship Description document states ideal start and end dates.

Before a project begins, the applicant must have received security clearance. They must also have completed a Fellowship Agreement with their host office. The Fellowship Agreement is the legal framework for the fellowship.

Projects vary in proposed duration and may last up to one year. If there is the desire from the parliamentary office and fellow, projects may be extended up to two years.

Many fellowships can be carried out remotely. Depending on the situation with Covid-19, fellows may wish to spend part of their time in Westminster.

More details of proposed working arrangements are found in the ‘Expected Timeline and Working Arrangements' section of the Fellowship Description document. Working patterns may be discussed at interview.

We encourage flexible ways of working, this should be discussed with the parliamentary host at interview.

How is the scheme funded? 

Applicants must seek funding to conduct the fellowship, including to cover their time, teaching cover, travel, subsistence, accommodation and any other associated expenses. Funds may be sought from research institutions or research funders. Confirmation of approval for funding must be sought by the applicant prior to submitting their application.

It is expected that funding will mainly come from impact funding sources such as Research Council Impact Acceleration Awards or specific university impact budgets. Applicants may also seek funding from other research organisations or funders, for example research networks, charitable funding, learned society funding, or professional association funding. Fellowships may not be funded with private funding or funding from industry.

How is the scheme administered? 

POST's KEU coordinates publicity and receipt of applications. The parliamentary offices who have proposed the projects will shortlist and interview applicants. They will also offer fellowships. They will have primary responsibility for fellows throughout the duration of the fellowship.

For any questions, please contact Dr Laura Webb, Knowledge Exchange Manager, KEU, POST: