From education to employment

Academy announces five new Policy Fellows

Following a highly competitive selection process, the Academy is delighted to announce that five successful applicants will join the sixth cohort of its prestigious Policy Fellowships programme:

  • Dr Jo Bray, Deputy Director, Chemicals and Plastics, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Dr Simon Gill, Head of Whole System and Technical Policy, Scottish Government, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change
  • Bairbre Kelly, Assistant Director, Head of Place Strategy, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Jenny Preece, Deputy Director, Planning – Infrastructure, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)
  • Katy Sutherland, Impact and Performance Manager, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

The Policy Fellows will join the programme virtually between October and December 2021. They will take part in a series of development activities including one-to-one meetings with experts, coaching sessions and group workshops, to help them make rapid progress on their chosen policy challenges. They will learn first-hand how engineers solve problems using techniques such as systems thinking and have an opportunity to expand their personal networks with the Academy’s community of innovators and leaders. Collectively they will meet over 60 leading engineers handpicked from the Academy’s UK and international networks.

Dr David Cleevely CBE FREng, Chair of the Policy Fellowships Working Group, said: “Over its first three years the Policy Fellowships programme has supported an impressive range of policy challenges such as approaching flood adaption in a way that promotes sustainable and inclusive economic growth, applying systems approaches to the challenge of bovine TB, or helping government anticipate technological change, optimising its benefits and managing its risks. I am also excited by the engagement of our growing community of alumni and their aspiration to champion the application of engineering and systems thinking in policy and public service design.”

Ragne Low, Policy Fellowships alumni and Head of Heat Strategy in the Energy and Climate Change Directorate of the Scottish Government said: “The insights I gained from the programme were profound, and completely surpassed my narrow expectations about tapping into a bit of technical expertise. Unlike more conventional training or professional development programmes, the Policy Fellowships programme is all about connecting you with leaders in their field who can provide insight into topics particular to the policy issues you are grappling with or who bring a completely fresh perspective and a different way of thinking.”

Simon Lawrence, Head of Project Futures, IPA and sponsoring manager of a Policy Fellowships alumni said: “The Policy Fellowship is an important collaboration to promote closer working between policymakers and engineers as government confronts increasingly complex and connected challenges.”

Engineering Better Policy

The Policy Fellowships programme has a growing influence on policymaking practice. It is now a network of 38 alumni.

The improved understanding of challenges and solutions is already having a direct impact on policymaking. Writing in our programme’s insights report Engineering better policy, Policy Fellows share the aspiration that the programme will make a big contribution to changing how public sector organisations operate in the coming years. The range of connections across a diversity of departments and authorities creates a promising network as government increasingly focuses on science, engineering and technology.

Next cohort: applications open 12 October until 12 December 2021

The next cohort of Policy Fellows will start in March 2022. Applications will open on 12 October and will close on 12 December 2021. For more information about the programme and how to apply please visit or email [email protected]

Notes for editors

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering’s Policy Fellowships As a national academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering provides progressive leadership for engineering and technology, and independent expert advice to government in the UK and beyond.The Policy Fellowships programme is an intensive professional development programme that supports better evidence-based policymaking. It advances policymaking and policy through engineering perspectives and systems approaches.

    For more information, please visit or email [email protected]

  1. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

Related Articles