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Science Policy Primer

This interactive course helps researchers better understand the rapidly changing policy landscape in the UK, and how scientific research helps to shape, and is shaped by, Government policy.

It was useful for me to talk to other participants and place my research in a broader context


Engaging and great opportunity to hear first-hand accounts


Register for this course

This course is open only to Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows, Industry Fellows, Sir Henry Dale Fellows, University Research Fellows, and Wolfson Fellows, and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships, Engineering for Development Research Fellowships, Industrial Fellowships and UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

Applications for the March 2021 session are now closed. To request further information about the course and the dates of future sessions please contact the Science Policy Centre.

What does the course involve?

The Royal Society partners with King’s Policy Institute to provide researchers with an understanding of science policy-making and help them develop the skills they need to effectively engage with policy.

The course is designed for Research Fellows interested in the role of science in public life, the various ways in which scientific research can have an impact on policy-making, and the skills that may enable them, as researchers, to play a part in these processes.

Due to the current circumstances, this course will exceptionally be run virtually over five days on 8 – 12 March 2021 with a maximum of three and a half hours of live sessions per day.

Each day will include a mix of talks and workshops that will cover topics including:

  • Introduction to UK government, parliament and the civil service
  • Policy-making in the real world
  • From science to policy impact 
  • Communicating with policymakers

In addition, some of the sessions will be pre-recorded to enable participants to accommodate their other commitments. 

Timings for the course are: 

Monday 8 March

  • 10:00 – 11:00 (live session)
  • 11:00 – 12:00 (live session)
  • 13:30 – 14:30 (invited speaker – tbc)
  • 14:30 – 15:00 (live session)
  • 15:00 – 16:00 (optional drop-in session)

Tuesday 9 March

  • 10:00 – 11:00 (live session)
  • 11:00 – 11:30 (live session)
  • 11:45 – 12:45 (invited speaker – tbc)
  • 15:00 – 16:00 (invited speaker – tbc) 

Wednesday 10 March

  • 10:00 – 11:15 (live session)
  • 11:30 – 12:15 (live session)
  • 12:30 – 13.30 (optional drop-in session)

Thursday 11 March

  • 10:00 – 11:30 (live session)
  • 11:30 – 12:00 (live session)
  • 15:00 – 16:00 (optional drop-in session)

Friday 12 March

  • 10:00 – 11:15 (live session)
  • 11:15 – 12:00 (live session)

The trainers will hold daily virtual drop-in sessions for participants to further discuss any specific points they would like in relation to the day’s course content. 

A strong emphasis is placed on the development of practical skills through interactive workshops. Participants will learn how to think strategically about their research, frame messages for a policy audience, and identify the right channels to maximise impact.

Who delivers the course?

The course draws on the experience of policy practitioners and experts in government and academia whose goal is to help participants engage with policy in the future and communicate effectively with the various stakeholders in the domain.

The King’s Policy Institute is a well-established research centre with strong expertise on research evaluation and science policy. Previous academic staff for the Science Policy Primer have included: Professor Jonathan Grant (Professor of Public Policy, King’s College London); Dr Andrew Blick (Senior Lecturer in Politics and Contemporary History, King’s College London); Catherine Haddon (Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Government); Dr Alexandra Pollitt (Research Fellow, King’s Policy Institute).

There will be opportunities to network with the course’s academic panel at daily virtual drop-in sessions, and with invited speakers and Royal Society Policy Associates during the course.

When will the course take place?

The course will start on Monday 8 March at 10:00 and finish on Friday 12 March at 12:00. The course will take place via Zoom and content will be shared on a virtual platform administered by the King's Policy Institute.

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