Engaging with policymakers and parliaments

Guidance on working with civil servants or elected representatives.

On this page

Engaging with civil servants or elected representatives (councillors, MSPs and MPs) can be an excellent route to realising the impacts of your research and practice. Whether, you submit written evidence, provide oral testimony, or act as an independent advisor there are many formal and informal ways of engaging.

The direct or indirect influence of your parliamentary engagement, can affect real, positive change for regions and nations, changing the lives of millions of people.

Working with the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament outlines ways in which academics can engage with the Parliament on their website, including the following:

  • Academic Fellows - The annual Fellowship Scheme enables academics at a senior (post-PhD) career level to spend time working with SPICe on a specific project which will have mutual benefit to the academic and to the Scottish Parliament.
  • Respond to a current consultation. If you are providing written evidence, the Style Writing Guide is recommended reading.
  • Present your research at the Scottish Parliament, including the popular Wednesday morning breakfast seminars.
  • Engage with Scottish Parliament's committees. An outline of the Committees and their work programmes is available on the Scottish Parliament's website.
  • Hosting a Parliamentary Committee in August. This is an important time for committees as they set the legislation for the next year. Parliamentary Committees look to host away days in areas related to their work programme.
  • PhD student policy internships - Offered through UKRI.
  • Sign up to the Parliament's weekly eBulletin Newsletter or read the Scottish Parliament Information Centre's (SPICe) Spotlight blog here.

Working with the Westminster Parliament

Each year the Royal Society pairs 30 research scientists with UK parliamentarians and civil servants. They learn about each other’s work by spending time together in Westminster and the researcher’s institutions.

Those taking part gain an insight into how research findings can help inform policy making, and come away with a better understanding of how they can get involved.

Next year’s pairing scheme will be held in person, with the ‘Week in Westminster’ taking place in March 2024. Over the week the scientists will take part in workshops, hear from invited speakers and spend time with their pair. The MP, Peer or Civil Servant will then be invited to visit the scientist’s home institution and learn more about their work in person.

Applications will open in October 2023. For more information visit the Royal Society's website.