Greg Stride reflecting on the UKRI Policy Internship Scheme

Greg Stride spent three months in the House of Commons with the Foreign Affairs Committee through the UKRI Policy Internship Scheme. Read what he got up to below.

What were you involved with on your placement?

I was placed on the Foreign Affairs Committee, where it was my job to support the work of the committee. A short list of a few of the major tasks:

  1. Worked on the development of the ‘Committee Corridor Podcast,’ a new podcast for Select Committees. This included meeting with and shortlisting podcast production companies, filling out procurement forms, working on lists of potential guests. The podcast can be found here.
  2. I worked on briefings for diverse topics: Afghanistan, the South China Sea, the Baltic states and a timeline of the Ukraine crisis as it unfolded. I was also asked to write briefings as fast as possible on the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy, and the impact of the crisis on global food and energy.
  3. I wrote a computer programme to compare sanctions regimes across the EU, UK, and USA. This was only possible with the programming knowledge I have picked up in my PhD.
  4. I was asked to contribute to a brief for the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee when they questioned Michael Gove about the Elections Bill, this being my area of PhD research. Information I provided made it into both the questioning session (transcript here) and a letter to the Secretary of State (which you can read here).
  5.  I organised a series of expert roundtables about the future of the Ukraine crises. This involved inviting academics from across universities and think tanks to give their views on elements of the crisis: the Russian domestic situation, Belarus, chemical and nuclear weapons, NATO and more.
Greg also sat in on the Liaison Committee. Here’s a picture of him behind the Prime Minister (He’s the one in the green tie!)

Did the placement meet your expectations?

“The placement met and exceeded all of my expectations. I wanted to work in a fast-paced environment with a varied set of challenges where I could operate as part of a team. The work, particular after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was certainly fast paced. The challenges could hardly have been more varied.”

“And it was an exceptional privilege to work with the team during this extremely difficult time. It is very easy to imagine that the team might have left me out of the work after the invasion, considering how busy everyone was, but I found the complete opposite. They made sure I was included, for which I am immensely grateful.”

How has the placement developed your insight into collaborating with non-academic partners?

“The placement showed me how academics can contribute to the workings of parliament. I was able to use a few skills I picked up in academia, particularly the programming elements, to solve problems that otherwise would have been very difficult.”

“I also worked with academics to give up-to-date information on the Ukraine crisis to the committee staff through expert roundtables.”

“Finally, an academic was involved in setting up the policy simulation, which proved again how their expertise, gained throughout their research, is invaluable for parliamentary work.”

Would you recommend a placement to other students? What advice would you give?

“Yes I would. The placement showed me how skills I think of as academic skills – summarising and communicating complicated topics – for example, can be used outside of academia for the benefit of any groups.”

“My advice: your PhD will probably give you a different perspective and set of tools from the other people working at your placement company. Use these.”

About placement funding

The SWDTP Placement Scheme offers you the opportunity to get work experience of up to six months in a relevant UK based partner organisation. This can benefit your research as well as helping to enhance your CV and future employment prospects.  All SWDTP-funded doctoral students are eligible to take part. It is not usually possible to arrange a placement during an MRes year.

If you are interested in doing a placement, it is best to speak to your supervisor in the first instance, and arrange an informal discussion with the SWDTP Collaboration Facilitator, Molly Conisbee. (more information on the scheme can also be found here).