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Policy Associate Scheme

This scheme provides an opportunity for University Research Fellows and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows to undertake a secondment in a Science Policy environment.

Dr Lily Asquith, Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow and Policy Associate, with her host Dr Emma Hennessey at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Applying for this scheme

The scheme is open to Royal Society University Research Fellows and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows.

Applications for the next round of policy secondments are now open.

The application deadline is Friday 26 March, 15:00 GMT. To apply, please first login to your Flexi-Grant account and then click on the link below.

Please refer to the scheme guidance notes for further details about the scheme. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Apply for a science policy secondment

What does the scheme involve?

A three month policy secondment (as a Policy Associate) on a full time basis or six to nine month policy secondment on a part-time basis within a science policy environment (e.g. central government department, devolved administration, decentralised agency or any other relevant public body). 

The scope of the activities during the secondment will be agreed between the Policy Associate and the relevant host organisation; however, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive first-hand experience of how scientific research and other evidence inform the policy making process
  • Develop networks with policy organisations and officials in areas allied to your research interest
  • Network with thought leaders in research, industry and policy
  • Develop your understanding of potential routes to achieving research impact

Find out about what Policy Associates did in previous years by reading the case studies available at the links on the right hand side of this page.

When would I start?

The 2021-22 Science Policy Secondments are scheduled to start between September 2021 and March 2022.

Depending on the evolving situation and Government guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this secondment may wholly or partly be undertaken remotely as long as the host organisation is content with that arrangement.

What support is offered?

  • Policy Associates may request travel and subsistence costs of up to £3,000 based on location and proximity to the host organisation.
  • Research Fellows undertaking this secondment will be able to extend their fellowship by the period of the secondment (up to a maximum of three months). During the period of the secondment, Research Fellows will continue to be funded by the Royal Society.

Am I eligible to apply?

University Research Fellows and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows applying to this scheme must have already completed the first year of their fellowship at the time of application. Those with less than 18 months left of their fellowship at the time of application are not eligible to apply. However, applications are discussed on a case-by-case basis and there might be some flexibility allowed.

How do I apply for this scheme?

Applications can only be submitted online using the Royal Society’s Grants and Awards management system (Flexi-Grant®) via the above link. If you have not previously used Flexi-Grant®, please follow the registration process from the Flexi-Grant®, homepage. Paper-based applications will not be accepted.

The deadline for applications is 15:00 GMT on 26 March 2021. All applications will be reviewed by the Royal Society and a decision will be made by 4 June 2021. Applicants will be notified of the outcome shortly after this date.

Please contact us with any questions.

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