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Naomi Saint and Sarah Foxen, UK Parliament's Knowledge Exchange Managers

03 December 2019, 9:36 UTC Share

What’s next from Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit? Three more things to support you to engage with UK Parliament!

The KE Unit at the UK Parliament has been going for just over a year now, and at the end of November we celebrated our one-year Twitterversary!

12 months ago, we set out our aim: to support and strengthen the exchange of information and expertise between UK Parliament and the research community. And as well as building our community on Twitter since then, we’ve been busy with various activities to make this happen, including training academics around the UK, creating new resources to support engagement (including on our researchers’ web hub, ), and engaging with Research England around the REF and KEF. 

But this isn’t enough for us! We’re looking to what we can achieve for the research community over the next year. Here we’d like to tell you about three things we’re focusing on right now, and if you’d like more information or to get involved, please get in touch.

Our fellowships programme 

Monday 2nd December was a very exciting day for us, as we relaunched our Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme: Directed call. We are now seeking applications for 14 projects, which have been proposed by offices across the UK Parliament. Host offices include POST, the House of Commons Library, select committees, Participation, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, UK Branch. Projects include supporting select committees and Library teams, providing Parliament with accessible research evidence, and helping parliamentary teams understand and improve their work and processes. These fellowships are open to UK-based researchers who have a PhD or those based in universities involved in knowledge exchange. You can find out more about how to apply for a fellowship here, and read more about what previous fellows did in our report about the pilot scheme here. We are super excited about this and looking forward to welcoming 14 new fellows to Parliament in the New Year! 

Our knowledge mobilisers network 

As some of you know, our plans include getting to know as many knowledge mobilisers across the UK as possible. We see knowledge mobilisers as anyone working to get research from their institution out into the world: impact teams, knowledge exchange offices, policy units, public affairs and communications staff… the list goes on. The point of this is so that we can work together strategically towards our shared aim of getting more research evidence and expertise into the work of UK Parliament – that is to say scrutiny, legislation and debate. We have a growing network of knowledge mobilisers, and we keep everyone involved in opportunities, updates and information on working with UK Parliament so they can make sure researchers in their institution are involved too. We are delighted to see this network expanding, so if you consider yourself a knowledge mobiliser, and would like to join, do drop us a line.

Our work with under-represented groups of researchers 

We know from statistical and anecdotal evidence that UK Parliament engages less with some groups of researchers. We want to change that! In October we held the first of a small series of events for researchers from under-represented groups, with two more coming in 2020. The first event focused on women researchers, the next will explore the experiences of academics from BAME backgrounds, and the third event will be centred on academics with disabilities. These events are bringing together people from across the research community to celebrate researchers’ contributions to Parliament, explore the barriers faced by particular communities of researchers, and listen to ideas around how Parliament can support and embrace these communities. We are committed to taking forward some of the ideas from these events in order to widen the diversity of voices heard at Parliament. So watch this space for new projects as we listen and shape our work around what we hear.

We haven’t told you all this just to brag (although we are proud of it!). We want you involved with every aspect of our work. So please take a look at our fellowship opportunities and apply; if you’re a knowledge mobiliser, or you know any, please get in touch and join our network; and look out for and get involved with our upcoming events and projects with under-represented communities of researchers. 

You can contact us on via email (our contact details are here), or follow or DM us on Twitter @UKParl_Research, and find our online resources at

Naomi Saint and Sarah Foxen are UK Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Managers. They run POST’s Knowledge Exchange Unit, where they work to support and strengthen the exchange of information and expertise between the UK Parliament and research community. 

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