Psychiatry, research and Parliament
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) offers parliamentarians accessible, impartial and independent research briefings. This article explains how you can do a fellowship in Parliament in collaboration with POST, and help MPs and others make the most informed decisions affecting mental health.
As the country adjusts to the next stage of the pandemic, we can take a moment to reflect on the essential contribution that scientific discovery, and the research community which drives it, has made.
The value of scientific evidence has been brought into sharp focus over the last 18 months and has been key in Parliament’s response to the pandemic, through debates, ministerial question times and select committees’ inquiries.
While most parliamentarians do not have research backgrounds, they are all faced with decision-making on subjects for which the research evidence is complex, incomplete, difficult to navigate or interpret, or where there is considerable uncertainty.
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) offers parliamentarians accessible, impartial and independent research briefings to equip them with the information that they need, when they need it.
POST collaborated recently with three psychiatrists, who joined Parliament on visiting research fellowships funded by the Medical Research Council to examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the population’s mental health.
The fellowships culminated in three papers: Dr Marisa Casanova Dias discussed research on the mental health of adults during the pandemic, Dr Stephanie Lewis focused on children, and Dr Claire Wilson considered NHS staff.
This work will inform parliamentarians’ decision-making on policies that affect mental health. The experience was also valuable for the fellows, as Dr Lewis explained “I gained a unique understanding of Parliament and developed useful skills in communicating with policy-makers”.
If you are interested in opportunities for fellowships in Parliament, applications are open for the 2022 programme for UKRI funded PhD researchers until 4 October, with other openings available through the Academic Fellowship programme.
You can also contribute to the use of research in Parliament in other ways: several ideas are helpfully summarised by Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit.
Back to our September 2021 eNewsletter.