Policy Associate scheme

This scheme provides an opportunity for Royal Society funded University Research Fellows and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows to undertake a secondment in a science policy environment.

Applications are now closed. 

The Policy Associate scheme for 2024-25 is now closed, and will reopen for 2025-26 in the new year.

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


Please refer to the scheme guidance notes for further details about the scheme. 

Science Policy Secondment Programme for Research Fellows: Guidance Notes

Email Georgia Park via the Science Policy Centre with any queries.

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 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 interests
  • Network with thought leaders in research, industry and policy
  • Develop your understanding of potential routes to achieving research impact

Find out about previous Policy Associates' experiences by reading the case studies available at the links on the right hand side of this page.

When would I start?

Secondments typically start between October and March.

The 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.
  • Royal Society 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.

Support for applicants with disabilities

The Royal Society welcomes applications from scientists with disabilities and provides adjustments to ensure that they can participate fully in the selection process. If you need an adjustment when accessing the application form or for any other part of the application process, please contact the Science Policy Centre (see below for contact details). Adjustments can include, but are not limited to:

  • extension of the deadline
  • additional support to complete the application form

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 link above. 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 3pm BST on Thursday 11 April 2024. All applications will be reviewed by the Royal Society and a decision will be made by Monday 10 June 2024. Applicants will be notified of the outcome shortly after this date.

The Royal Society recognises that diversity is essential for delivering excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Society wants to encourage applications from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences to maximise innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity. We regularly review and revise processes to help ensure that all talented applicants have an equitable chance to succeed as per the assessment criteria. This includes ensuring all panel members are briefed on unconscious bias in decision making as part of our assessment process.

For more information regarding the scheme, or for any queries, please contact Georgia Park via the Science Policy Centre.