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The Oxford Policy Engagement Network offers up to £5,000 to enable policy engagement projects.

Policy engagement is all about relationships: investing in them, maintaining them – and, from time to time, ending them.[1] For some researchers and policymakers, however, it can be difficult to know where start, or how to develop these relationships. The OPEN Seed Fund makes it easier for potential partners to connect and begin to collaborate, share knowledge and expertise, so that, together, they can contribute to better policies that protect what is valuable and change the world for the better.

Up to £5,000 to enable researchers at the University of Oxford, and public policy professionals anywhere in the world to kick-start or deepen collaboration, working together to design, deliver and evaluate projects that

  • Enable them to share evidence and support its use in policymaking;
  • Improve their understanding of how research can inform policymaking, and develop the skills to catalyse that process; and
  • Broaden and deepen their networks.

All project activity must be completed and funding spent by 31 July 2024.

Academics and researchers from any department or faculty at the University can apply. Proposals from those new to, or experienced in, policy engagement are equally welcome.


DPhil students can apply if they will have submitted their thesis and be awaiting examination at the point their project will commence.

All proposals must include at least one Policy Partner.

An interdisciplinary panel, including representation of the OPEN Steering Group and the Policy Profession Unit, will prioritise practical and innovative proposals that

  • Contribute a clear, policy-related (as opposed to only research-related) goal;
  • Define realistic outcomes that contribute to that goal, and articulate a clear pathway from activities to proposed outputs and outcomes; and
  • Focus on activities that enable collaboration, co-design and co-delivery of those outputs with those who make or shape relevant policies.

The panel will also consider the following criteria when reviewing proposals:

  • Relevance to clearly identified current/emerging public policy objectives;
  • Potential for mutual benefit – reflected in outcomes and outputs of benefit to both partners;
  • Sustainability – reflecting the potential of the partnership to lead to future collaboration or to create/accelerate impact; and
  • Value for money: an appropriate and well justified budget, with careful consideration of individual costs, as well as investment (cash or in-kind) by partners.

Deadline for applications is noon on 22 January.

Click here for full details and to apply