What is a POST fellowship?

A POST fellowship is a placement facilitated by POST, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Fellows usually work in POST but might also work with other teams within the UK Parliament, such as the research teams in the libraries and the select committees.

PhD fellowships typically last for three months. They are usually open to students registered for a PhD in a UK institution although some schemes are open to students and researchers at any career grade.

During a POST fellowship, fellows help POST or a team in Parliament with core work such as writing a briefing for parliamentarians, assisting with a select committee inquiry, or conducting research.

PhD fellowships are funded through a series of schemes that accept applications on an annual basis.

POST is a friendly and supportive place to work. We welcome applications from people inclusive of age, disability, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief, race and ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and caring responsibilities.

What is it like being a POST Fellow?

Fellowships are highly rewarding. Many former Fellows tell us that their experience changed their life!

You can learn more about the experiences of some of our previous Fellows, and where they ended up in their careers, in the POST Fellowship Spotlights and in this video interview.

We work hard to make all our Fellows feel welcome and positive about their experience. When you join us, we provide training, supervision, support and mentoring to enable you to make the most out of the opportunity.

What will I do during my POST fellowship?

If you are placed with POST, you will typically help us to write a POSTnote. POSTnotes are short, accessible, fully referenced and peer-reviewed reports. Members of the Commons and the Lords read them to get information on emerging research. To write a POSTnote you will need to interview a range of stakeholders from research, industry, government, the third sector and other stakeholder groups. You will have to prioritise, balance, and eventually synthesise the information you get from stakeholders and your own literature review. You will incorporate feedback from your POST supervisor. Your supervisor will support you during this process and help you produce a high-quality report in line with POST standards. Finally, you will actively help us promote your work once it is published. Beyond this core work, you will have the opportunity to:

  • attend, assist with and potentially organise events at the UK Parliament
  • get first class training on written and oral communications
  • deepen your understanding of how research is used in policy
  • and forge important connections

How can the Fellowship be adjusted to meet my needs?

POST is committed to equality of opportunity. We will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabilities or conditions do not exclude prospective fellows from this opportunity. Please let us know as soon as possible to discuss how we can meet your requirements. POST can offer part-time fellowships and flexible working.

Will I be given accommodation in London?

No. The funding you receive should cover you to arrange your own accommodation and other living costs.

Do I have to relocate to London?

No. We can agree hybrid and remote fellowships for many of our schemes. Please let us know as soon as possible to discuss how we can meet your requirements.

Can I get additional financial aid?

Some schemes can set aside funding for childcare costs, or to assist with other caring duties. If you require additional funding, please contact the funder of the scheme you are interested in applying to.

Will my travel expenses be covered?

POST will cover your travel expenses to conferences and other meetings if they are business related and your supervisor has formally agreed to them. Your commuting costs to and from Westminster are funded from your fellowship funding and you should budget accordingly.

Can I apply for a POST fellowship more than once?

Yes. You can apply for the same scheme again in the following round of applications if you were not successful the first time and if you still meet the criteria. You can also apply to multiple schemes within the same academic year, if you meet each scheme’s criteria.

What is security vetting?

Parliament requires everyone working in Parliament to pass Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) pre-employment checks and a Counter-Terrorist Check. This will be arranged following a successful application. Fellowships are conditional on obtaining security clearance.

Do I need to be a UK citizen?

No, but you do need to have the right to work in the UK as POST fellowships count towards the maximum number of hours work that you can do outside of your PhD studies. Some international students may have working restrictions as part of their visa that will require undertaking the Fellowship part-time. However, we will discuss this with all successful applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Do I need to live in the UK?

No, but if you have not been living in the UK for the last three years it could be harder to undergo a meaningful security check. Security clearance usually takes six to twelve weeks but can take longer. If you have not been living in the UK for the last three years you might be asked to secure a criminal record check from your previous country of residence, further postponing clearance. All fellowship offers are conditional to obtaining security check.

Can I apply in the final months of my PhD or after my PhD?

Most schemes allow applicants to submit their application within a grace period after their PhD funding has expired. For example, some schemes accommodate applications where PhD funding finished in the six months leading up to the application deadline. Make sure you check the eligibility criteria of the scheme you are interested in.

Do I need experience in policy writing or science communication?

A background in policy writing or science communication is not a requirement for the fellowships. However, it can provide an advantage in the technical part of the application process, which is the writing of a sample POSTnote.

Can I write my application POSTnote on my PhD topic?

You can write your application POSTnote on any topic you want. However, choosing a topic outside your research focus can show that you are comfortable researching areas outside your expertise. When choosing a topic make sure it is relevant to the UK Parliament. Ask yourself, would POST publish this in the next 6 to 12 months?

Where will my fellowship be based?

Most fellows are based in POST, at the UK Parliament in Westminster, London. Occasionally fellows will be seconded to a Select Committee, the Commons Library, or the Lords Library, which are also based at the UK Parliament.

However, we can agree hybrid and remote fellowships for most schemes. Please let us know as soon as possible to discuss how we can meet your requirements.

If I get a fellowship, can I choose what topic I will be working on?

You will not choose what topic you will be working on. It is unlikely that you will work on your current topic of research, although sometimes fellows do work in related fields. Often fellows are allocated a topic in a field that is entirely new to them. This is why interviews with stakeholders are so important to the POSTnote process. We do not expect you to be an expert in your topic, but to find the experts and assess the evidence they provide, in a balanced and impartial way. Throughout your fellowship you will be supported and supervised by expert advisers.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at postfellowships@parliament.uk.

Related posts

  • Fellowships

    Explore the latest opportunities to become a POST fellow and experience working at the centre of policy making.

  • SSCP and SCENARIO DTP Fellowship 2025

    Applications are open for the 2024/2025 SSCP and SCENARIO DTP POST Westminster Fellowship scheme. Open to postgraduate student in these DTPs who are undertaking their PhD studies. Apply by 23:59 on 17 May 2024.

    Students reading a book and writing
  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

    Applications are open for the 2024/2025 Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) POST Westminster Fellowship scheme. Open to RSC members who are undertaking or have recently finished their PhD studies. Apply by 23:59 on 17 May 2024.

    engineer uses microscope