PhD placements in the Cabinet Office’s Open Innovation Team

The Cabinet Office’s new Open Innovation Team has been established to generate analysis and ideas for priority projects by helping officials collaborate more intensively with outside experts. We are supported by Research Councils UK and sponsored by four leading universities – Bath, Lancaster, Southampton and Warwick – but our relationship with our sponsors is not exclusive.

We are inviting PhD students to join our team on placement for a minimum of 3 months to help us deliver projects on health, welfare reform, industrial strategy, digital transformation and various other priority areas.


PhD students working with us on placement will be expected to carry out a range of tasks, including:

  • Reviewing evidence to inform policy discussions and help scope out projects
  • Generating analysis and policy ideas working alongside officials and outside experts
  • Developing project plans to ensure projects remain on track
  • Pitching new projects to Whitehall departments and non-government partners
  • Managing stakeholders inside and outside Whitehall
  • Organising engagement activity, including arranging meetings, university visits and Whitehall policy seminars


Required skills/experience

We are looking for PhD students who can:

  • Communicate well, including translating complex ideas to non-expert audiences
  • Manage their time effectively, juggling a variety of tasks with minimal supervision
  • Collaborate with a variety of team members, government officials and academics
  • Adapt as projects and partners evolve
  • Demonstrate an interest in policy and a willingness to learn about new issues


Training and experience expected to be gained on the placement

The placement will provide an excellent opportunity to:

  • Understand more about how Whitehall works and how policy is developed
  • Hone writing and communication skills for non-expert audiences
  • Develop networks in government, including in Cabinet Office and HM Treasury
  • Build knowledge of new policy areas
  • Apply research skills in a different way, producing outputs that could impact government policy