Student's briefing bridges the gap between research and policy

Friday 7 January 2022


A St Catharine’s postgraduate student has authored a peer-reviewed research briefing entitled ‘Upskilling and retraining the adult workforce’ to give UK parliamentarians access to relevant research and insights. Paddy McAlary, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, developed the briefing during his fellowship with the social sciences team at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

POST produces impartial, non-partisan and peer-reviewed briefings throughout the year, including POSTbriefs and four-page POSTnotes. While these resources are primarily designed to make scientific research accessible to the UK Parliament, they are freely available online so provide invaluable information in an easily digestable format for a whole range of audiences. Timely and forward thinking, POST briefings cover the areas of biology and health, energy and environment, physical sciences and computing, and social sciences.

Paddy explains, “My time at POST provided a fascinating insight into the role that research (and researchers) play in supporting MPs and Peers as they consider, debate, and vote on legislation. Working within Parliament allowed me to get up close and personal with the procedures and mechanisms that see legislation brought to life, and the whole experience gave me a better understanding of, and a renewed appreciation for, the institution (and its many idiosyncrasies).”

Paddy McAlary
Paddy McAlary

POST Fellowships typically involve the production of a new briefing and Paddy worked with POST adviser Natasha Mutebi to produce the 659th briefing in the POSTnotes series, drawing upon literature reviews and interviews with stakeholders. Their briefing outlines the national context around adult education, including issues around supply and demand of skills as well as funding and participation rates. It also discusses the key outcomes and impacts of adult learning.

Paddy adds, “The topic assigned to me felt like a million miles away from my PhD, but it gave me the opportunity to develop research skills attained from the PhD and to reappraise my approach to my academic work as a whole. While there were many highlights of the Fellowship, the opportunity to conduct a series of interviews with a range of voices from academia, industry, and Government and to draw on their expertise ranks amongst the most fruitful. Overall, the entire experience was both incredibly formative and enjoyable!”

POST is a bicameral body within the UK Parliament. With more than 30 years of experience in sourcing reliable and up-to-date research evidence for the UK Parliament, POST is one of the first bodies of its kind in the world.