These projects took place in the In-house Research Unit (IHRU). The IHRU is a centrally organised and managed research function, which is part of the Central Analysis and Science Directorate (CASD) in DWP. The IHRU delivers robust qualitative research, putting robust evidence at the heart of decision making in DWP. The fellows worked as part of a team of social researchers, undertaking qualitative research designed to assess the efficacy of specific policies in UK Jobcentres. 

Student 1 

Working on the Pensions Engagement project has provided me with a whole host of transferrable skills and experiences that I will put to good use in the future. While at the DWP, I learnt how to work as part of a team and produce good quality research under tight time frames. Learning how to allocate my time and resources to various task was a key skill that was also honed during this time. 

Without a doubt, the fellowship has made me reflect on potential career routes and has solidified my desire to undertake a role in the Civil Service as a social researcher. The skills and experience that I have gained over the last three months will be invaluable when applying for jobs after I have handed in my thesis.   

Student 2 

As a PhD student, I am used to conducting research as the sole researcher. Undertaking research for the civil service gave me valuable experience working as part of a team. There were lots of additional considerations, particularly with respect to consistency and rigour in the conducting of fieldwork, that I would not have gained experience of had I not joined a team of researchers.  

I think this fellowship has made me seriously consider a career in government social research or policy, something I had not thought about much before. I gained experience drafting government reports and presenting findings to a range of stakeholders, something I do not do on a routine basis. This will benefit my future career greatly. 

Student 3 

Completing this fellowship has made me reconsider doing applied research as a job and look more toward roles where I could do more ‘big picture’ thinking.  I gained valuable experience outside academia, which has allowed me to consider the skills I am gaining in a PhD from a new perspective. I now have greater knowledge of the kinds of jobs I will seek out afterward I graduate. 

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