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Policy professionals join trailblazing University of Manchester fellowship initiative

Five outstanding candidates have been chosen to take part in the inaugural Policy@Manchester Fellowship Scheme.

Launched more than a decade ago, Policy@Manchester connects academics from The University of Manchester with professional policymakers in Greater Manchester and far beyond.

The unit’s work to provide research-based evidence for public policy was further boosted two years ago with the creation of the GM Policy Hub which has increased connectivity and enhanced wider policy discussions across the region.

The Policy@Manchester Fellowship Scheme will create new networks and strengthen existing relationships between researchers and policymakers in Greater Manchester and nationally.  The programme is also designed to augment the personal and career development of all participants.

The successful applicants who have emerged from the selection process come from three UK government departments.

They include James Brannan, Senior Cyber Security Policy Advisor at the Cabinet Office; Tricia Francis, Trade Partnerships Manager at the Department for Business and Trade; Lauren Probert, Head of Research and Futures at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology; and Rachel Smith, Head of Innovation Ecosystem Policy also at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Over the next 12 months, each fellow will receive a bespoke set of briefing sessions with researchers from across The University of Manchester around their working area of interest.

This will be combined with an open invitation to undertake lab tours and access the enviable resources and facilities of the University.

They will also be encouraged to contribute to hosting a seminar, workshop or roundtable; write an article or publication; or organise a co-produced piece of research.

Professor Cecilia Wong, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester, said: “We are excited to announce the first recipients of the Policy@Manchester Fellowship.

“Led by The University of Manchester, the scheme will connect researchers and policymakers engaged in issues and challenges relevant to Greater Manchester and the North-West.

“This will build on our ongoing activities, including through the GM Policy Hub, to establish networks that support wider conversations and discussions both directly with the University, and also stakeholder to stakeholder through introductions and events.

“With more government departments relocating officials from Whitehall to the region to work alongside our district councils and the combined authority, it is the ideal time to launch this trailblazing initiative.

“I look forward to liaising closely with our new fellows throughout 2024 and wish them well in their roles.”

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About Policy@Manchester As the University’s policy engagement unit, Policy@Manchester aims to impact lives by influencing and challenging policymakers with robust research-informed evidence and ideas.  We connect researchers with policy makers through a range of methods including informal meetings, roundtables, events and contributing expertise to consultations and calls for evidence across national, devolved, and local government. Our regular thought leadership publications bring together expertise and analysis on pressing policy challenges. More information at:

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