Building connections, confidence and skills – the benefits of a ClimateXChange Fellowship

CXC Fellowships projects provide support over the long term but can also be at the end of the phone for a quick chat.

Scottish Government policy lead

“A 10 minute call can be so much more powerful than a 50 page report.”

Scottish Government analytical lead

“The Fellowship allowed me the space to grow in terms of my methodological capabilities, research ambition, and research impact.”

Former CXC Fellow

Our fellowships:

  • build long term relationships between policy and research colleagues;
  • develop mutual understanding between research providers and policy decision makers; and
  • build communications and engagement expertise.

ClimateXChange Research Fellows is one of the ways we can provide longer-term support to policy teams. This can take many forms, for example evaluation as a policy is implemented or on-going technical capability. Since our inception in 2011 we have had five to ten fellowships across the climate change portfolio at any one time.

The Post-Doctoral Research Fellows (PDRFs) work in Universities and research providers connected to expert networks and resources. Their individual work plans are agreed with the relevant Scottish Government policy division, with fellowships typically lasting 18 months to three years.

Communication with the Scottish Government from the outset frames the fellowship and develops the work plan. This ensures that the fellows engage at the appropriate point in the policy development, and respond to arising evidence needs.

In addition to the support and development the fellows get through their employers, ClimateXChange provide training and development related to understanding the policy process, how to communicate research effectively to policy decision makers, and to connect the fellows to the wider CXC network.

CXC fellowship as a career stepping-stone

ClimateXChange research fellows have found their time with CXC a great boost to their work in the particular research or policy field. Former fellows have gone on to have careers in academia and across policy and government analytical services.

They list a number of benefits from their time with ClimateXChange:

  • A unique opportunity to build profile within academia and across policy
  • Developing big picture thinking while delivering discreet projects
  • Building connections with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Developing a strong impact ethos – focussing on the ‘so what’ in any research project
  • Developing understanding of how policy is developed and where initiatives and proposals come from
  • Practice in responding quickly and succinctly to questions across a research interest area
  • Building confidence in own expertise and ability to communicate it

Transferrable skills for business

As climate change analysis and action become ever more important across all sectors, experience as a ClimateXChange research fellow is also increasingly sought after in the business community. This is not least because of the knowledge our fellows develop across climate change policy and stakeholder engagement.

The emphasis on impact during a CXC fellowship is an important transferrable skill to businesses looking for expertise for their investment and future scenarios work. The experience our fellows have in communicating research to different audiences and for different purposes is of particularly value to businesses that are looking to strengthen their capabilities in climate policy, investment and litigation.