Research, Impact and the UK Parliament

Research, Impact and the UK Parliament is a training conference taking place in UCL on Wednesday 7th June 2017.

This is an opportunity for Kings College London academics to learn how their research can influence and impact proceedings at the UK Parliament.

The event will be at 1.30 – 5.00pm on 7th June 2017 at University College London.  It is open to all academic researchers, from PhD students to senior researchers, and university impact support staff.

Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite.

At this 3 hour training event, you will learn:

  • How to contact MPs and Members of the House of Lords from Parliament’s Outreach & Engagement Service
  • How to work with Select Committees from a clerk of a House of Commons Select Committee
  • How Parliament has been cited in REF 2014 impact case studies from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

“This was one of the most useful events I’ve ever attended.” – RIUKP Attendee, January 2017

“This was a very informative event. I enjoyed learning about how to engage with Parliament and consider the impact of my research on parliamentary activities” – RIUKP Attendee, November 2016

Tickets cost £40 and include lunch. If this fee is a barrier to attendance, please contact us; we may make exceptions in some circumstances.  We are also able to discuss group bookings if you would like to book a block of tickets for your institution.

Book your place at Research, Impact and the UK Parliament now.

We hold RIUKP events around the UK throughout the year: check www.parliament.uk/academic-training for more details.

 

Policy Idol – Could you change the world in three minutes?

Do you want to change the world? Do you have an idea for policymakers? Do you
think you can convince a group of policy experts in just three minutes?

Prizes

£250 Audience prize
£500 Best delivery
£500 Best analysis
£1,000 Overall winner

Policy Idol 2017Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all current students and staff at King’s, in which participants pitch their policy ideas to an elite panel of leading figures from the worlds of politics, academia and industry.

You can enter by yourself or as part of a team, and on the day you will have just three minutes to present your idea to the judges, who will assess your pitch on the quality of delivery and the evidence and analysis underpinning it.

Organised by the Policy Institute at King’s, the competition sees the best ideas selected in a series of heats, with standout pitches from each heat put through to the final. All finalists receive bespoke training in policy analysis and communications, as well as an opportunity to improve their pitch.

The final takes place in front of a live audience, with both the judges and the audience voting for their favourite idea at the end of the evening.

Applications accepted until Friday, 2 December 2016 at 17.00.

Find out more and sign up at www.kcl.ac.uk/policyidol

Spotlight Series: Careers in Policy – notes from the discussion on 26th October 2016

city-hall-719963_640Our speakers were:

Lila Caballero-Sosa

Title:      Policy Adviser at ActionAid

PhD:      Government; focusing on the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, at LSE

Lila has extensive experience in policy research, advice and management. As part of the policy team at ActionAid UK, she carries out research and develop policy analysis and strategies on aid and development finance. Although she has never formally studied at King’s, Lila has strong affiliations with the college and is currently carrying out a collaborative research project with the King’s International Development Institute.

George Windsor

Title:      Senior Policy Researcher at Nesta

PhD:      Political Science and Government; Highly skilled migration and the promotion of entrepreneurship in the UK at Loughborough University

At Nesta, George focuses upon carrying out research relating to the creative and digital economies here in the UK. This includes analysis of policy documentation such as the revised ‘Creative Industries Council’ strategy, as well as exploring concepts such as ‘The Fusion Effect’ which explores the utility of businesses combining knowledge from both the arts and sciences.

Ben Whitham

 Title:      Policy Research at Citizens Advice

PhD:      International Politics – University of Reading

Recently a Policy Researcher at Citizens Advice, a part-time Lecturer in International Politics at the University of East London, and a (voluntary) member of the Board of Directors at the Nuclear Information Service, Ben has many years’ experience of professional research and teaching in both Higher Education and policy roles. Ben is now a lecturer at Loughborough University. At present his work focuses upon the public services complaint landscape and he is utilising innovative social media research and big data analysis.

 Here are some of the questions and tips provided by our speakers:

Some common features of policy work:

  • Organisations are often small and run on tight budgets – multitasking and flexibility is needed
  • Work is often politically sensitive and discretion is frequently needed
  • Small organisations often mean opportunities to try new areas of work and take responsibility quickly
  • There are often benefits such as international travel or the chance to work with government departments and ministers and have impact nationally

Does your PhD have to be relevant to policy work?

All three panellists agreed that this was not necessary and that transferable skills from your PHD were more important.

How can you become more employable in policy?

Take internships if you can but also take less formal approaches, be willing to collaborate on writing blogs, approach someone who is already working in the field and suggest working together. Be imaginative it’s often easier than you think to approach and work with someone.

You can try getting an administrative role in an organisation you want to work for and wait for a good opportunity to come up. It’s usually easier to move within and organisation than it is to enter from the outside.

How can you prepare for this type of work?

Learn (or re-learn) to write specifically for a non-academic audience. This may be harder than you realised. Your new employers, however, will probably appreciate your academic skills and draw on them for example in gathering and analysing data.

Policy work is often quite different to academia – results are required more quickly and the methods used to research are often different to the ones you’ve used up to now. It’s a good idea to get familiar with quantative methods and software like SPSS, if you aren’t already.

Can you re-enter academia after a period working in a non-academic role?

Yes, and this can be a strength, bringing skills and experience that you might not have otherwise. You can also mix further study or academic work with a policy role. Two of our speakers had direct experience of this. Your connection with and understanding of academia can also be very useful.

Top tip for policy job application:

Read job description carefully, show you have the essentials, trust yourself – have confidence in yourself! You’ve done and achieved a lot. Be succinct and plain in your answers to questions. Use evidence and tangible examples.

Many thanks to our speakers who gave up their time so generously and our audience for their excellent questions.

King’s Think Tank Recruits for 2016-17!

If you are looking for career development opportunity or aspiring for a career in policy, diplomacy, marketing or journalism within a health sciences framework, please read on.

The Global Health Policy Centre at King’s Think Tank is looking for students to help reshape the global healthcare policy and promote health equity. They have the following voluntary positions to offer:

  • Policy Centre Editor : If you are good at writing and brainstorming, and have great ideas to bring onboard, you should consider applying for this post.
  • Policy Centre Researcher : If you are a stickler for details, a hardcore evidence-based researcher with exceptional writing skills and exciting ideas, you’d make a great researcher.
  • Policy Centre Liaison : If you enjoy talking to people, are well-organised and a fantastic event manager, this is just the role for you.

For a full job description and to apply please visit: www.kingsthinktank.com/#!recruitment-2016-17/umls4

Deadline for applications are Monday 5th September, 2016. Should you have any questions, please email president@kingsthinktank.org

King’s Cultural Institute: Collaborative Innovation Scheme for Early Career Researchers

 Collaborative Innovation Scheme for Early Career Researchers

Making an impact beyond academia

The Cultural Institute at King’s is delighted to announce a scheme for Early Career Researchers to develop collaborative projects with a cultural or creative industry partner in their area of research. Up to 9 projects will receive funding of £1500 (plus a £500 prize for the best completed project) as well as the opportunity to:

  • shape their project idea with input and expertise from cultural partners;
  • receive support from Institute Associates in developing the joint application with the cultural partner; and
  • disseminate research findings through a novel medium and generate impact beyond academia. We would like to invite PhD students and academic staff within five years of PhD award to submit a 300-word summary of their project idea by Friday 1 April 2016. The Institute will suggest suitable partners to successful applicants who do not have an established contact with the cultural sector but we also encourage proposals by applicants who have already secured a cultural collaboration.

To be successful, proposals must:

  •   be innovative, test new approaches and provoke further debate;
  •   have potential for collaboration between art/culture and academia;
  •   produce high quality and original outputs; and
  •   have a clear vision for influencing wider policy, practice or production and informing research and learning at King’s

For more information and application forms, please click here or contact Richard Mason (richard.mason@kcl.ac.uk)

Seven things you could do if you’re interested in a career in policy

Policy is one of those areas that PhDs and research staff often mention to me that they’re interested in moving into.  They have found out that it combines a good level of research knowledge and experience, with the possible opportunity to effect change for a certain group.

But gaining experience in this area, prior to getting a job in it, is important.  Here are some ideas you could look into, while you’ve got the luxury of being within a huge organisation such as King’s.

1) Join King’s Think Tank Society, attend its events or contribute to its publications.  This will get you meeting other like-minded people and an outlet for your thoughts.

2) Become a staff or student rep.  Getting used to committees, governance, advocacy and how these tools work is really important for understanding how policies are created and applied across organisations. Outside of King’s, think about becoming a charity trustee or even a school governor.

3) Follow the work of the KCL Policy Institute which acts as King’s policy consultancy.  You’d find out more about how these consultancy organisations work and how their outputs differ from academic research.

4) Attend some events* where people who work in policy talk about their jobs.  Not only will this increase your knowledge of the range of roles involved but it gives you an opportunity to meet other researchers interested in the sector and to practise talking to an employer. The sorts of organisations that come include the UN and EU. *KCL log-in required; look for ‘Public Policy series’ in the events listing.

5) Attend Policy Idol 2016!  It’s too late to take part but take note of it for next year!

6) Take a look at this case study on the Grad School blog and follow the Industry Insider, Peace Politics and Policy blog from the Careers Group.

7) Consider signing up for the KCL Research Consultancy where you may find that projects in measurement, evaluation and building sector awareness help you demonstrate that you’ve got the skills it takes to become a policy wonk.

Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: Ministry of Defence

This interview, and the others published over the past and next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

From Politics and International Studies PhD to Defence and Security

Dr. Victoria Tuke

Current position: Victoria Tuke works in the Defence Strategy and Priorities team within the Ministry of Defence.

Starting point:

Between 2008 and 2011 I completed a PhD in Politics and International Studies, writing my thesis on Japanese foreign policy.

First turn – Daiwa Scholar

For many years I have been keen to enter public service but with a specific interest in Defence and Security issues. My PhD was a means to an end: a career in government, think tanks and NGO. Immediately after finishing the PhD in 2011 I was lucky enough to get a two-years long Daiwa Scholarship (Daiwa is an Anglo-Japanese Foundation). The scholarship allowed me to hone my Japanese language skills while working ‘hands-on’, this time, for the British Embassy and a Japanese politician, in addition to continuing my own research.

Second turn – Civil Service Fast Stream

Upon returning to the UK in 2013 I secured a job as part of the Civil Service Fast Stream. I had the chance to work in a range of departments including Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice and on a short secondment to BAE Systems. In April 2015 I eventually landed my current position at the Ministry of Defence.

How did you make it?

The move from academia to government has been challenging and quite an adjustment. If you are keen on a specific sector or industry my advice is to get your foot in the door first, and only then work your way to your ‘dream job’. Because I did my PhD with the transition in mind I put extra effort in securing a number of internships (editorial, research) in Government and Think Tanks alongside my PhD.

What is the next move?

After developing experience in the ‘reality’ of public and foreign policy, I would very much welcome a portfolio career and any opportunity to return to some form of an academic career in the future.

Research Council Policy Internships

Research Council policy internships provide an opportunity for Research Council funded PhD students to work for three months in one of a selected group of highly influential policy organisations.

The Research Councils organise internships for current Research Council-funded PhD students to work at partner host organisations on a policy topic relevant to both the student and the host. The student will be expected to produce a briefing paper, participate in a policy inquiry and/or organise a policy event.

Internships are awarded to both parliamentary and non-parliamentary organisations.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found at the following link – http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/skills/policyinternships/

Next application deadline: 16:00 BST 28th August 2015

Support for PhD candidates who teach

Many of you gain teaching experience at King’s while undertaking your research degree. This is great for you and good for the university too.

We want to make sure those of you who do teach are well supported. Faculties deliver a range of training, induction and buddying arrangements for Teaching Assistants (TAs) and King’s Learning Institute (KLI) also offers the ‘Preparing to Teach’ course and the more advanced PGCAP course that leads to a nationally recognised qualification. KLI has considerably increased capacity on these courses in responses to requests from TAs.

Recently we have had discussions to see how we can improve support further, and that involved a focus group with TAs. In response to the three main suggestions to come out of this session, we have made the following changes:

  1. University policy guidance is now available on the Teaching Opportunities webpage of the Graduate School. Our focus group said they found this a very helpful document but hadn’t previously been aware of it.
  2. KLI has agreed to arrange drop-in sessions for TAs on different campuses so you can call in and get advice on good practice and/or discuss problems you are having with your teaching. These will begin in September 2015.
  3. The Graduate School has set up a discussion forum where you can contact other TAs, share your experience and good practice, as well as offer advice and support to your peers. This can be found on KEATS, but you will need to submit an application form for admission to the forum. This can be found on our internal web pages by clicking here and selecting the tab entitled ‘Forum for King’s Graduate Teaching Assistants’.

Professor Vaughan Robinson
Director of the Graduate School