Following a highly competitive selection process, the Academy is delighted to announce that six successful applicants will join the fifth cohort of its prestigious Policy Fellowships programme:

  • Nicola Coppen, Infrastructure Co-ordinator for the Highways and Infrastructure Department, Westminster City Council
  • Hannah Gibson, Innovation Lead, Innovate UK (UK Research and Innovation)
  • Rick Holland, Regional Manager North West England, Innovate UK (UK Research & Innovation)
  • Gerry McCafferty, Director Policy, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
  • Robert Skey, Head of Low Cardon Economy Unit, The Scottish Government
  • Chris Thomson, Head of Clyde Mission Team, Directorate for Economic Development, The Scottish Government

The Policy Fellows will join the programme virtually between April and June 2021. They will take part in a series of development activities including: one-to-one meetings with experts, coaching sessions and group workshops, to help them make rapid progress on their chosen policy challenges. They will learn first-hand how engineers solve problems using techniques such as systems thinking and have an opportunity to expand their personal networks with the Academy’s community of innovators and leaders. Collectively they will meet over 60 leading engineers handpicked from the Academy’s UK and international networks.

Dr David Cleevely CBE FREng, Chair of the Policy Fellowships Working Group, said:

“The Academy’s Policy Fellowships programme is entering its third year with a strong new cohort representing central government, agencies and the devolved administrations. We hope to inspire and enable them to apply engineering and systems thinking to some of the most complex and urgent policy challenges facing the UK. I am excited by the potential of this unique network of policymakers to transform policy through engineering.”

Engineering Better Policy

The Policy Fellowships programme has a growing influence on policymaking practice. It is now a network of 33 alumni and we aim to reach over 50 alumni by the end of 2021.

The improved understanding of challenges and solutions is already having a direct impact on policymaking. Writing in our programme’s insights report Engineering better policy, Policy Fellows share the aspiration that the programme will make a big contribution to changing how public sector organisations operate in the coming years. The range of connections across a diversity of departments and authorities creates a promising network as government increasingly focuses on science, engineering and technology.

The Policy Fellowship gave me a valuable introduction to systems thinking and its application to policy problems. I now have a greater insight into how implementing complex systems involves recognising the intersections between new technologies and wider factors. This has informed my team leadership.

Chris Moore-Bick, Deputy Director, Policy Defence Science and Technology, Ministry of Defence

The Policy Fellowship has supported members of my team to forge meaningful connections outside of the department and bring new and diverse ways of thinking into their work.

Jo Shanmugalingam, Director General, Industrial Strategy, Science & Innovation, BEIS

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