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Policy Internships

Call status: Closed
Next application deadline: TBC

A 3-month internship opportunity for BBSRC-, NERC- and AHRC-funded PhD students to work in one of a selected group of highly influential science policy organisations.


Internship placements provide an opportunity for current BBSRC-, NERC- and AHRC-funded PhD students to work in one of eight host organisations on a policy topic relevant to both the student and the host. The student will be expected to:

  • produce a briefing paper
  • participate in a policy inquiry, and/or
  • organise a policy event

Internships are awarded to both parliamentary and non-parliamentary organisations. Information on current host organisations can be found below.

Funding arrangements

Successful BBSRC applicants on four-year Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) studentships and BBSRC students trained on academia-industry collaborative schemes (e.g. CASE, Research Technology Clubs, Advanced Training Partnerships) will undertake their three-month internship during their four-year period of PhD funding. This will serve as their mandatory Professional Internship for PhD Students as part of their studentship.

Successful NERC and AHRC students will receive a fully funded three-month extension to their PhD maintenance award, with their maintenance grant continuing to be paid while based at the internship host office.

Where the cost of the placement cannot be met from the training grant, BBSRC, NERC and AHRC will make arrangements to reimburse the additional costs to the university or institute to ensure that their stipend will continue to be paid while undertaking the placement. All computing, email and other facilities necessary to complete the project will be supplied by the host organisation.


Open to all current BBSRC-, NERC- and AHRC-funded PhD students. Internships must start before the end of the funded period of the studentship.

NERC-eligible students are those funded directly from a NERC doctoral training grant and also students with at least 50% funding from a NERC research centre. Students who are co-funded by NERC but whose funding is administered by another research council (e.g. NERC/ESRC studentships) are also eligible to apply.

How to apply

The call for applications is closed.

Submit a completed application form to

Before completing the application form, please read the guidance notes provided below.

Application downloads

Application form (DOC)

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Guidance notes (PDF)

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Assessment of applications is a two stage process:

  1. assessment of the written application
  2. applicants of successful written applications will be invited to interview

Current host organisations

The eight host organisations include three parliamentary organisations, where interns are likely to produce briefing notes (POST Notes) for parliamentarians, and five non-parliamentary organisations.

Parliamentary internships

The UK and Scottish parliaments and the National Assembly for Wales pass laws, scrutinise government and act as a forum for debate on issues of concern. As part of their internship with the above organisations, interns will gain experience of working in a political environment and are likely to produce a formal briefing note for parliamentarians in addition to being involved in other parliamentary activities.

Non-parliamentary internships

These will be based at one of the following hosts:

During their placement at these organisations, interns will work on an area of policy by contributing to one or more of the following activities:

  • producing a policy briefing or contributing to a longer report
  • participating in a policy inquiry
  • researching, developing and organising a policy event or workshop
  • any other related activities

Case study

Fresh from finishing her PhD, Catriona Manville recently completed a three-month policy placement in the British Library’s Science team.

Catriona Manville
Catriona Manville

During her placement, Catriona was responsible for organising TalkScience, a quarterly event run by the British Library, which brought together the different perspectives from across the research community to debate the impact agenda.

After working in an academic lab at Newcastle University, Catriona found her three months were packed full of new experiences. During her time at the British Library, Catriona interviewed some big names from academia and learned societies, wrote an article for the Cheltenham Science Festival, spent two days in Parliament and organised the whole TalkScience event from defining the scope of the topic and deciding on speakers to designing and marketing the event.

Catriona Manville with the panel of speakers she arranged as part of her Talkscience event looking at the ‘impact agenda’. Image: British Library/Catriona Manville
Catriona Manville with the panel of speakers she arranged as part of her Talkscience event looking at the 'impact agenda'.
Image: British Library/Catriona Manville

Catriona said: "This placement provided an invaluable opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the science landscape beyond academia and to fully appreciate the opportunities available to me to use my skills in a variety of contexts. My work at the Library also allowed me to clearly demonstrate I have the skills that future employers require."

Catriona has since secured a permanent position at a Cambridge-based contract research house, working as an analyst in their innovation and technology policy team. Catriona is delighted with her new job and said: "Working at the British Library, as part of the BBSRC-funded policy placement scheme, gave me confidence to apply for this appointment."