Amarpreet secured a POST fellowship through the UK Research and Innovation Policy Internship scheme, which allows prospective “interns” to choose from a range of host institutions, including POST.
She first heard of POST in 2016 while studying for her MPhil. “POST’s aim of bridging research with policy held great appeal to me, and thus, my ambition to do a fellowship at POST was ignited.” If she could have joined on the spot, she would have. But she says she wanted to do the fellowship during the second year of her PhD.
So, she waited, begrudgingly. “Finally, in July 2018, while I was in Toronto to present my research at the World Congress of Sociology, I came across the call for applications on Twitter.”
“With much excitement, I answered the questions which formed the application and created a well-considered mock POSTnote based on research involving human embryos.”
“Several weeks later I was invited to an interview which had a representative from all four countries which form the UK on the panel of interviewers. I had no way of knowing how I fared during the interview, but I hoped my passion and long-awaited desire to do a fellowship at POST shone through. The application process was nerve-wracking but the outcomes were very joyous.”
The joy was mutual.
The POST experience
We are pleased to say that Amarpreet’s excitement persisted throughout her time at POST, during which she researched and co-authored POSTnote 611 on Human Germline Genome Editing.
In her own words, her first week, while intense was “very exciting”.
“I met my supervisor at POST, POST staff, and some of my fellow ‘POSTies’. I set up my desk, collected my ID card, and had a tour around the palace. I completed all the mandatory training then figured out the scope of my POSTnote with my supervisor. During that week I also devised a list of all the stakeholders I could send the scope to.”
When talking about the rest of the fellowship Amarpreet makes it sound equally thrilling.
“My experience at POST was everything I could have wanted and more” she says.
“My line manager ensured that I had a full ergonomic set up which accommodated my disability; my experience at POST was even more pleasant because of this exceptional care.”
“I got an insight into the world of Parliament, I liaised with prominent academics and government officials, and as a result of the POSTnote I co-authored, I attended an associated debate in the House of Lords. I was enabled to network with so many people beneficial to my own research and career, many of whom I remain in contact with.“
Life after POST
After POST Amarpreet continued her PhD. She has finished analysing her research data and has written up her thesis. She is now looking to submit her thesis and join the job market.
Looking back at her fellowship she sees many valuable lessons. She immediately recalls the experience of developing skills in analysing how organisations use research evidence. She also learnt how to write in a balanced way on a topic where stakeholders held strongly different views.
She also recalls her surprise at learning how to read and understand legislation.
“I was not expecting to uncover weaknesses in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended. I later authored an article published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online based on the implications the weakness could have for applications of human germline genome editing in the UK.”
Perhaps most tangibly she strongly believes the fellowship helped with her PhD. “It helped me finetune the argument I needed to make in my PhD thesis, and figure out what amendments are likely to be made to UK legislation in relation to human germline genome editing and how these could be made so that I could include these in my thesis.”
Advice for POST fellows
Amarpreet’s advice for prospective fellows is simple but honest.
“Make the most of every opportunity that is presented to you during your fellowship; network with as many people as you can.” She certainly made the most out of her time at Parliament.
“Oh, and thoroughly enjoy the use of your parliamentary email address.”
You can find Amarpreet on Twitter @lioness1992