...an ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

Suzannah Ravenscroft: Placement as a Fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Suzannah is a Psychology Researcher based at the University of Reading and was awarded a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology/ESRC funded fellowship in 2015-16.  Read on to find out about the benefits and opportunities of undertaking a POST ESRC fellowship.

From January to March 2016 I worked as a fellow in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology under the ESRC funded fellowship scheme. The main task within my placement was to produce a 4 page briefing for parliamentarians entitled “Education in Youth Custody”. This briefing was required to be objective in nature and provide no recommendations, but be based on scientific research and reflect current policy. Throughout the course of the placement I conducted literature reviews, attended conferences, and interviewed academics, stakeholders and NGO groups to gain an understanding of the topic. The placement has brought me into contact with a vast range of people and opinions and taught me how to ask questions to draw out the necessary information and evidence base and integrate these opinions into one piece in order for the briefing to remains accurate and balanced. Collating all the information into four pages was no easy feat and has taught me how to be concise, refine down what information is necessary to give the targeted reader the most informed overview of the topic as possible. I also didn’t expect to become so involved in the topic and have found the whole process insightful and interesting. 

Alongside the POSTnote I also had the opportunity to work on an accompanying briefing to the POSTnote on education in resettlement after youth custody and assist the permanent staff in working on their own research into who and how the POSTnotes are used by members of the houses of parliament as well as in the broader scientific community. I was able to attend oral hearings for relevant inquiries, debates in both the House of Lords and Commons, all party parliamentary groups and sat in on Prime Ministers question time. Collectively these opportunities have given me an insight into how scientific evidence can contribute and be worked into the policy making processes that occur within parliament. This was one of main reasons for wishing to take part in the placement scheme and has given me insight into how my own research and that of my research group could aim to have more impact through these channels.

Education in Youth Custody (372.76KB - Requires Adobe Reader)