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CAPE knowledge sharing session

On 22 November 2021, CAPE hosted the first of its quarterly sharing sessions, themed around the ‘Incoming Policy Fellowship Model’. Sharing sessions examine each of the CAPE academic policy engagement mechanisms so we can discuss learning with the sector on what works.

The session provided an opportunity for 40 public policy professionals and researchers to share their experiences and reflections on the incoming policy fellowship mechanism and its role in the policy engagement landscape. The presentations and discussion considered evidence of policy fellowships and introduced case study examples of successful fellowship schemes.

What is the incoming policy fellow model?

Incoming policy fellowship schemes allow policy stakeholders to visit universities to talk to researchers and research services staff about policy pertinent questions. Initial visits tend to last from 1-5 days and form the start of a programme of engagement between policy fellows and research organisations as well as other organisations with access to expertise.

Find out more about the CAPE policy fellows here

What we know about incoming policy fellowships from the research evidence

Kathryn Oliver and Chilombo Musa presented two research projects evaluating research policy-engagement and focused on key findings regarding incoming policy fellowships. Both noted the limited research evidence base to date.

Key findings of Kathryn Oliver’s project ‘Mapping research-policy engagement internationally’  include:

Chilombo Musa’s research project highlighted the following learning points:

Existing fellowship models

The CAPE knowledge sharing session looked at four successful examples of incoming fellowship programmes: CAPE policy fellowship, CSaP fellowship (Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge), Royal Academy of Engineering Policy Fellowship Programme, and IPR policy fellowship (Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath).

A lively discussion identified benefits of running incoming policy fellowships:

Best practices

The presenters also highlighted best practices that had emerged over the past years:

Open questions

The discussion also highlighted open questions for future research and discussion, which focused on how to make fellowships more effective:

Overall, the knowledge sharing session highlighted that there is a good knowledge base regarding best practices but also identified areas for future research, including continual learning, the contribution to sector-wide knowledge and formalised evaluation. CAPE will be addressing some of these questions through its activities and mechanisms.


The event was chaired by Stephen Meek, Director for the Institute for Policy and Engagement at the University of Nottingham. Speakers included:

We were pleased to welcome attendants primarily in knowledge broker roles including those from the Universities of Exeter, Essex, Durham, Leeds, Oxford and York, as well as representatives of Government departments including Department for Transport and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.