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University of York student seconded to the Cabinet Office

Posted on 17 July 2014

A University of York postgraduate student is heading to Whitehall this summer for a three-month internship in the Cabinet Office.

Will Vittery. Photo: Suzy Harrison

Will Vittery, a third-year PhD student with York’s Department of Politics, will join the Cabinet Office’s Social Investment Finance Team, which works to support the growth of the social investment market in the UK.

His main task will be to develop new guidance and tools to help make it easier and quicker to set up a Social Impact Bond (SIB), including looking at how SIBs are evaluated. SIBs are an innovative form of ‘payment by results’, through which social investors provide up-front investment to enable third sector organisations to deliver services to achieve policy outcomes such as reduced re-offending rates, and improved educational outcomes for target groups.

He will work as part of the Centre for Social Impact Bonds and will contribute to enabling the development of more SIBs in both central and local government. The secondment links in to the topic of Will's PhD research, which explores shifting ideas about the role of the state in the post-Global Financial Crisis era.

The opportunity arose through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Student Internship Scheme. This provides current ESRC funded PhD students with the chance to spend up to six months in a non-academic organisation in the public, civil society (voluntary) or private sector where they can work as part of a team involved with policy and practice development.

Will, 26, from Grassington, North Yorkshire, said: “My thesis looks at changing ideas about the role of the state in the economy in the aftermath of the crisis. The birth of Social Impact Bonds represents a development in the relationship between the state and the private sector in the funding of domestic social policy. While there is not a direct case study link between the two, the internship allows me to gain more practical experience on the issues I have to date been discussing more theoretically. 

“Through the internship, I hope to enhance my own practical research experience and skills, and to boost my future employability in the social research field.”

Further information:

  • For more information on the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Student Internship Scheme visit
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research into the big social and economic questions facing us today. We also develop and train the UK’s future social scientists. Our research informs public policies and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. Most importantly, it makes a real difference to all our lives. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. For more information about the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) visit
  • For more information on the University of York’s Department of Politics visit


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