About the program
The Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program (the program) is an initiative of the Office of the Chief Scientist that gives scientists the opportunity to work in a Commonwealth Government department for 12-months. It seeks to grow the diversity of expertise in the Australian Public Service (APS) workforce by providing a pathway for early and mid-career scientists with up to 15 years post-PhD experience to become skilled policy practitioners. Up to 20 Fellowships may be offered each year, based on a competitive selection process.
The program offers a range of benefits to participants:
- Fellows receive on-the-job training in, and exposure to, policymaking. They will not be appointed as subject matter specialists, but rather will be expected to participate in the activities of existing teams in their host department. The skills that Fellows have acquired throughout their research career are expected to be transferable and of value to policy development broadly.
- Fellows will have access to professional development and mentoring provided by their host department, and are supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist.
- Fellows will become part of an alumni network and at the end of the program, Fellows will be well placed to compete for policy and program roles should they choose to stay in the APS.
As a pathway program into the APS, participation in the program means each Fellow will become equipped to seek permanent employment in the APS, if that is their wish. Fellows are encouraged to pursue these opportunities over the course of the program.
Fellows are working in diverse policy fields, such as the Modern Manufacturing Strategy in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources; policies and programs related to Native Title in the Attorney General’s Department; and research policy in the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
Fellows are employed as APS 6 policy officers by participating Commonwealth Government host departments for 12 months. Conditions of employment and remuneration will be in accordance with the relevant host department’s enterprise agreement.
For the 2021-2022 Program, Fellows may have the opportunity to work in one of the many participating APS department and agencies, including:
- Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
- Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
- Department of Veterans' Affairs
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
- Department of Social Services
- Department of Health
- Services Australia
- Attorney-General's Department
- Department of Education, Skills and Employment
- Department of Finance
- Department of Home Affairs
A merit list at the APS 6 level will be established through the initial selection process and can be used by host departments to permanently appoint the fellow, subject to certain conditions. If the merit list is not able to be used, a separate recruitment process will need to occur if host areas wish to recruit participants permanently. This is the responsibility of the host department.
Our ideal candidate
Our ideal candidate will have significant scientific expertise and an interest in gaining policy development experience. The program is targeted at early and mid-career scientists and engineers who are no more than 15 years post-PhD (adjusted for career breaks). We are looking for people who are adaptable, able to generate new ideas and solve problems.
Successful candidates will have strong conceptual, analytical and research skills, clear oral and written communication skills, strong team work skills, and the ability to achieve results within a demanding environment.
What you will do
Over the course of the program, Fellows will be embedded within a department and given exposure to policymaking processes. Roles vary depending on each host team within departments. Some Fellows may complete two 6-month rotations during their Fellowship year.
Fellows will not be subject-matter specialists, rather the program aims to provide exposure to the culture and practice of policy development. Host departments are also expected to support Fellows in their professional development, including through formal training opportunities and mentoring.
To be eligible for the Science Policy Fellowship Pilot Program you must:
- be an Australian citizen aged 18 years or over,
- hold a PhD in one of the following disciplines:
- medical and health sciences
- biological, physical or earth sciences
- behavioural sciences
- computational sciences and mathematics
- engineering disciplines (applicants with a Masters in engineering and three years of professional engineering experience also qualify),
- be no more than 15 years post PhD completion (adjusted for career breaks), and
- be prepared to relocate to Canberra if you currently live interstate.
Degrees from overseas universities must be recognised by an Overseas Qualification Unit. More information on overseas qualifications recognition is available at https://internationaleducation.gov.au/services-and-resources/pages/qualifications-recognition.aspx
Fellowship positions require a minimum baseline security clearance. Some positions will require higher clearance levels. The successful applicants will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at the required level. This is not necessary at time of application.
How to apply
To apply you must:
- complete the online application form,
- address all eligibility and merit criteria, and
- submit your application by the advertised closing date.
Below is an outline of the sections candidates will be asked to complete in their online application.
- Standard candidate data, including personal details, education, current employment and diversity information.
- Curriculum vitae (2 pages maximum).
- Details of two referees and two letters of recommendation.
- Short biography (300 word limit): tell us about yourself, including areas of policy interest.
- Candidate statement (500 word limit): Why are you interested in a career in policy and what makes you a good fit for the role?
- Areas of interest: Outline the policy areas or issues that you are particularly interested in addressing during the Fellowship.
- Role as a policy officer: Describe how you imagine you might apply your skill set and expertise to policy issues and how they can be applied in government decision-making.
- Career goals: State your goals following the Fellowship and into the future, and how you envision the Fellowship will help you achieve those goals.
The application process will run over a number of months. It can take three to four months from the time applications open to successful candidates being notified.
Candidates will be selected through a two-stage interview process. In the first instance, a selection panel will shortlist candidates for the first round of interviews. Candidates that are successful in first‑round interviews will be invited to attend a second interview with the selection panel.
For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact Jessica Wright at OCSemail@example.com.
Learn more about the Australian Public Service
The Australian Public Service is committed to a workplace culture that builds respect, fosters inclusiveness, promotes diversity, embraces the unique skills and qualities of all our employees and is committed to attracting, recruiting and retaining people with disability. For more information about working in the Australian Public Service please see https://apsc.govcms.gov.au/working-aps.