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Civil servants

This scheme gives policymakers and research scientists an opportunity to experience each other’s worlds.

Dr Alvin Orbaek White with his pair Ms Sangita Dey from the Cabinet Office

Applying for this scheme - civil servants

At present the huge degree of uncertainty about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is making it very hard for organisations trying to plan events. 

Given the potential resources involved in planning events that then could be cancelled, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the next pairing scheme. We are aiming to reschedule this scheme for the first quarter of 2021. We are hoping to provide more precise details of the next pairing scheme later this year. 

If you would like information on this year's scheme, please email

I hugely enjoyed my experience of the scheme. It was really interesting to explain my own work and to get a sense for how the work of government is seen through researchers.

Dr Alan Pitt, Secretary for the Council for Science and Technology, paired with Dr Emma Stone at the University of Bristol


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This annual scheme gives UK Civil Servants the opportunity to be paired with a talented UK-based research scientist for a week in Westminster in November (24-28 in 2019). Taking part will help you to expand networks, improve your knowledge of the research landscape and understand how the research community can support you in your day to day work.

This scheme is open to Civil Servants of any grade across government and includes a program of sessions and workshops to learn more about the processes of parliament and the science research and advice landscape.

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What does the scheme involve?

The scheme consists of a week in Westminster which will take place from Monday 25 November 2019.

  • You will be introduced to your pair at a networking reception in Westminster on the afternoon of Monday 25 November
  • On Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 November, your pair will shadow you at work. You may wish to invite colleagues in your team to share the shadowing responsibilities with you
  • On Thursday 28 November you are welcome to attend workshops run by the Government Science and Engineering Profession which will explore the use of science and research in government
  • After the week in Westminster (at a convenient time in the following months) you will also arrange to visit your pair at their lab/place of work, to develop a better understanding of their role as a scientist

You can use your allocated learning and development days to take part in the scheme.

What will I get out of it?

By the end of the scheme you will:

  • Have direct links with practicing talented research scientists and external science organisations
  • Understand the process of scientific research within government and externally
  • Understand how to access and use this knowledge to inform discussions and decision making

Who will I be paired with?

The Royal Society pairing scheme is open to applications from scientists across all science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) disciplines working in academia or industry. To be eligible for the scheme, the scientists are required to have at least two years postdoctoral research experience or equivalent research experience in industry.

We also recognise that a great deal of research is interdisciplinary in nature, therefore we also consider applications from social or behavioural scientists who utilise or have an overlap with STEMM disciplines.

You can use your allocated learning and development days to take part in the scheme. 

If you would like any further information about the Royal Society Pairing scheme please email

This scheme, jointly provided by the Royal Society and the Civil Service Government Science and Engineering and Policy professions, gives policymakers and research scientists an opportunity to experience each others' worlds.

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