Working with parliamentarians

Ella Rhodes reports on the latest BPS-supported Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology secondment.

A PhD student who is exploring the effects of children’s play will be embarking on a secondment with the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology thanks to a BPS award. Alison Lacey (University of Sussex) will take time out of her research to write a fact-based briefing note for parliamentarians on a psychological topic.

The joint BPS and Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) award is made annually and has seen doctoral psychology students write briefing papers on topics as diverse as migrants and housing, policing domestic abuse and palliative care. Lacey said she had always been interested in politics and current affairs and an opportunity to work in Westminster was too good to miss. ‘I am really looking forward to meeting and interviewing key stakeholders about my topic area. PhD work can sometimes feel rather niche so this secondment will enable me to widen my research knowledge and skills, and to work in a completely new way. What do I hope to gain? Something surprising that I haven’t thought of in advance. Those are the best kind of experiences.’

Lacey, whose PhD explores children’s social play and its influence on social and emotional skills, will start her time at POST in April with her topic yet to be decided. ‘I’ve been advised to allow some time to get lost in the Houses of Parliament during the first week which is something I am keen to take literally. I have been in touch with a previous POST fellow who has warned me about the post-POST blues. So, I am determined to enjoy every challenging moment while it lasts.’ 

The joint BPS/POST award is made annually and will re-open for applications in June 2020.

For more information on eligibility see: tinyurl.com/ybqkm8xs

See also the BPS call for a psychological government

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