Placement Spotlight: UKRI Policy Internship Scheme

I conducted a 3-month placement in the Prison Evidence Strategy Team, within the Prison Business Partnering Team in the Data and Analysis section of the Ministry of Justice.

I was assigned a 3-month research project to collate all the evidence on the concept of decency in prisons. I was instructed to use as wide a source base as possible, and identify the important evidence gaps, with the overall aim of better understanding how decency can be an analytically useful concept for the MOJ.

The aim was to use an approach that was holistic and driven by evidence, rather than considering ‘decency’ from any particular perspective, whether that be estates, workforce, safety, or anything else, with the hope of providing an understanding of ‘decency’ that is more durable in the long term.


At the end of my 3 month placement, I felt like I had been involved in making a big impact. I produced a 30-page report on the concept of decency. I also spent considerable time communicating my findings to other analysts, and presenting to stakeholders. The final report that I put together is now being prepared for publication.

Beyond these tangible outputs, I also learnt a great deal during my time in the MOJ. I learnt how research and policy interact with each other in practice. In particular I saw how many obstacles can arise, but also that both research and policy are enriched when acting in conversation.

I also learnt many skills that will be of benefit to my future career development. Whilst there were lots of transferrable skills from my PhD, such as conducting independent research, I also learnt new things on this placement, in particular how to work in a team, and manage stakeholders.