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UK Parliament opens its doors to major academic fellowship schemes

16 November 2016

Image of UK Parliament portcullis

The UK Parliament has launched two new fellowship schemes that will offer academic researchers, at every stage of their career, the rare opportunity to work on specific projects from inside Westminster's walls.

House of Commons Fellowship Scheme

Following an open call for applications, the House of Commons Fellowship Scheme has awarded five fellowships to senior political and social scientists from universities across the UK. The scheme, run in partnership with the Political Studies Association (PSA) will give fellows an opportunity to increase the impact of their research by working with the House Service to build public understanding of Parliament, as well as to inform, evaluate and enhance the House's work and that of its Members. 

The first five fellows are:

  • Professor Margaret Arnott, University of the West of Scotland: The future of Parliament and devolution
  • Dr Mark Bennister, Canterbury Christ Church University: Questioning the Prime Minister: How Effective is the Liaison Committee? 
  • Catherine Bochel, University of Lincoln: Procedural Justice: A Fair Process for Public Engagement?
  • Dr Alistair Clark, Newcastle University: Regulating and Communicating Parliamentary Standards
  • Professor Matthew Flinders, University of Sheffield: How can Parliament deliver a restored and renewed Palace of Westminster? 

Applications for the next wave of House of Commons Fellows will open in 2017. For more information, please see Parliament's Academic Fellowships page.

Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme

Applications for the Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme are now open. The scheme gives academics from different subject areas and at any career stage the chance to work on specific projects proposed by offices inside Parliament, as well as enabling academics to propose their own project ideas.

The Scheme is being run by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and has been endorsed by the Research Councils, in particular the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It is funded by monies made available to universities to increase the impact of their research (Impact Acceleration Accounts).

Academics can apply to the Scheme through two routes.

Under the first of these, academics can apply to work on a project that has been specified in advance by a particular parliamentary office or department or a collaboration between departments. Up to three fellows will be taken in the pilot. Academics will have until 16 February 2017 to submit their applications and the expected start dates for successful fellows is summer 2017. Projects available for academics to apply to are:

  • Supporting the House of Lords Library in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data to monitor its performance, effectiveness and impact
  • Supporting the House of Commons Library to develop and apply a range of approaches to improve information on how its core services (enquiries, briefing papers and online) meet its customer needs and offer insights into its customers and how they work
  • Assisting the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee in its work scrutinising the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Assisting the Health Committee in following up on its work on childhood obesity
  • Assisting the International Trade Committee in its work scrutinising the Department for International Trade
  • Assisting the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in its examination of constitutional issues, the quality and standards of administration within the Civil Service and scrutiny of reports produced by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman 

Alternatively, academics can propose a topic that has relevance to parliament. Applications for this option will launch in May 2017 and academics will have until end of June 2017 to submit their applications. It is anticipated that successful fellows taking this route will start in early 2018.

For more information about the Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme, please visit the POST Fellowships section of the Parliament website.