York Policy Academy 2024/25

The Policy Academy at The University of York, led by The York Policy Engine (TYPE), is an exciting initiative designed to provide a unique and valuable development opportunity for academic and professional service staff interested in engaging with policymakers. The Academy was launched last year with its first cohort due to complete in June.

Objective: The Policy Academy aims to enhance participants' understanding of policy engagement, expand their networks, and increase their impact by connecting them with civic and political leaders and providing them with interactive expert-led training workshops.

Timeline: The sessions for the Policy Academy will take place in York, in-person, starting from November 2024 and continuing through to June 2025. These will be conducted once a month, with each lasting for half a day.


  • Participants will grow our current community of individuals at York interested in policy engagement, including our first cohort of 20 Academy Fellows. 
  • Engaging in dialogues with policy professionals across various policy engagement topics.
  • Exploring policy engagement opportunities at the local, national, and international levels.

Session Content: The sessions will cover key policy engagement topics and focus on enhancing participants' understanding and skills in policy engagement. Last year’s sessions included topics on:

  • Understanding the policy environment in different settings: unpacking experiences of policy engagement
  • Research to policy journey & communicating research to policy audiences
  • Inner workings of civil service and UK central government and parliament 
  • UK policy outside of Westminster: devolved and local government
  • Understanding the role of think tanks & campaigning organisations

Session Delivery: Sessions will be led by a range of policy experts and delivered through a combination of workshops, speaker presentations with Q&A and action learning sets. We have had high-ranking government officials and top civil servants attend, as well as:

  • Ex-special advisers
  • Government Ministers
  • International Organizations representatives
  • Policy Institutions
  • University of York colleagues with expertise in policy engagement

Completion: Upon successful completion of the Policy Academy, participants will receive a certificate recognising their achievement. Additionally, alumni of the Policy Academy will be able to apply to a dedicated pool of Policy Support Funding reserved for their cohort in the 2025/26 financial year.

Eligibility and Application: The Policy Academy is open to staff members from all faculties, departments, and directorates of the University of York. Those interested in policy engagement as part of their work, including teaching, research, and professional services staff, are invited to apply. Interested individuals should complete this application form, which includes a few short questions and requires confirmation of line manager support. The application deadline is 5pm Friday, 28th June, 2024.

Commitment: For the Policy Academy to run effectively, participants must make every effort to attend each monthly in-person session.  

Contact: For any queries or additional information about the Policy Academy, you can reach out to Katie Heffron at katie.heffron@york.ac.uk.

Hear from our 2023/24 Policy Academy fellows

A group of people standing together on the stairs at Heslington Hall

Our first Policy Academy took place from December 2023 and June 2024. Hear from some of the fellows about their experiences participating in the Academy:

What I enjoyed most were the series of high profile guest speakers and I appreciated the ongoing support received from the York Policy Engine team. They are dedicated to Policy Academy and this is reflected in my very positive experience.

Dr Karolos A. Papadas - 23/24 Policy Academy Fellow

As someone entirely new to the policy world the academy has given me a really good insight into the research to policy journey, as well as a better understanding of the way policy is made and adopted by government. The offer of additional sessions has been really welcomed, and has given space to hone and practice some of the material from the course. The range of speakers has been brilliant, with each one being open and engaged in discussion with the cohort. Lastly, the academy has been a really useful way of getting to know colleagues across the university, and build connections for future work.

Dr Helen Bradley - 2023/24 Policy Academy Fellow

I enjoyed everything about the academy sessions. The speakers are top-notch and well-experienced. I made new networks which I am currently exploring at my work. I loved the active learning session and the opportunity to go hands-on on real-time issues that required timely responses.

Jennifer Aghaji - 2023/24 Policy Academy Fellow

The most useful aspect of the programme for me was gaining an understanding of how best to communicate your research so that it is policy relevant, and methods to reach out to key and influential policy players. The learnings will be taken forward within future grant applications and funding opportunities.

Dr Sundus Mahdi - 2023/24 Policy Academy fellow

The monthly sessions run by the Policy Academy have been a brilliant mix of the practical and the inspiring. It's been fascinating to hear the stories of those who've achieved significant policy impact... I'll leave the academy with a significantly improved understanding of the policy making landscape as well as how to frame research and present research in an accessible way for policy makers.

Molly Watson - 2023/24 Policy Academy fellow