What is the Policy Leaders Fellowship?

The Policy Leaders Fellowship addresses the needs of the most senior policy makers – whether in Whitehall, devolved administrations or local government in the UK, or equivalent organisations – providing access to research and academic expertise. Launched in 2013 under the Chairmanship of former UK Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson, its discussions focus on the need for long-term thinking, the value of evidence, and fresh perspectives on key challenges.

Who is the Fellowship for?

Policy Leaders Fellows join the Fellowship by invitation. Those who take part include Permanent Secretaries and Directors-General from Whitehall and beyond, as well as Chief Executives of agencies, local government and foundations.

What does the Fellowship involve?

Our Leaders Fellows participate both in one-to-one meetings with leading academics and in roundtable discussions with researchers and other Fellows. The Fellowship meets once a term in Cambridge, and is now chaired by the Master of Trinity College and former Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies.

Over the course of the two-year Fellowship, Fellows are invited to six days in Cambridge, and we ask that they commit to attending at least two days per year.

In addition to these days in Cambridge, Fellows and alumni are invited to dinner discussions co-hosted by The Royal Society in London up to three times a year.

What topics are covered?

Roundtable meetings have included discussions on the intelligent use of modelling in government, the future of work, cities, conspiracy and democracy, and open policy making in a digital world; they have also explored the latest thinking on academic frontiers such as biodiversity, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and bioelectronic medicine.

What are the benefits of joining the Fellowship?

  • access to senior academics across all disciplines
  • membership of a network of high-level policy professionals
  • access to structured interactions, including the opportunity to convene bespoke discussions
  • the challenge to thinking which is characteristic of the Fellowship process, promoting innovation and creative approaches.
  • Read more about the PLF experience from Cat Little, Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury; Lucy Smith, Director General at Defra; and Paul Kett, Director General at DfE.

Policy Leaders Fellows (and alumni)

Current Policy Leaders Fellows and alumni are listed below. To learn more, contact Karri Aston, Programme Manager.

Policy Leaders Fellows

Policy Leaders Fellows - Alumni

Tera Allas

McKinsey & Company

Michael Anderson

Kosmos Energy

Simon Baugh

Cabinet Office

Gillian Beasley

Cambridgeshire County Council

Sam Beckett

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

James Bowler

Financial Services Group, HM Treasury

Jim Breslin

Government of Ireland

Deborah Bronnert

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

Deborah Cadman

Birmingham City Council

Nadia Calviño

Spanish Government

Lindy Cameron

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

Alex Chisholm

Cabinet Office

Juliet Chua

Department for Education

Jon Cunliffe

Bank of England

Gareth Davies

Department for Business and Trade

Shona Dunn

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Helen Edwards

Recovery Focus

Leslie Evans

Scottish Government

David Eyton


Katie Farrington

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Catherine Frances

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Matthew Gould

Zoological Society of London

Iain Gray

Cranfield University

Paul Grice

Queen Margaret University Edinburgh

Tricia Hayes

Home Office

Sarah Healey

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Ed Humpherson

UK Statistics Authority

Joy Hutcheon

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

Nick Joicey

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Bernadette Kelly

Department for Transport (DfT)

Gavin Kelly

Resolution Foundation

Julian Kelly

NHS England

David Kennedy

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Paul Kett


Laurence Lee

Ministry of Defence

Sam Lister

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Cat Little

Cabinet Office

Helen MacNamara
Robert Madelin

Fipra International Ltd

Charlie Massey

General Medical Council (GMC)

Clive Maxwell

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)

Scott McPherson

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Emily Miles

Food Standards Agency

Jonathan Mills

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)

Jeremy Moore


Shan Morgan

Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Clare Moriarty

Citizens Advice

Geoff Mulgan

UCL Public Policy

Sue Owen
Jeremy Pocklington

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)

Vikas Pota

Education Outcomes Fund

John Pullinger

The Electoral Commission

Antonia Romeo

Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

Philip Rutnam

National Churches Trust

Philip Rycroft

Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge

Hayaatun Sillem

Royal Academy of Engineering

Andrew Slade

Welsh Government

Jonathan Slater

King's College London (KCL)

Lucy Smith

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Geoffrey Spence
Chloe Squires

Home Office

Abi Tierney

Welsh Rugby Union

Julia Unwin

York St John University

Patrick Vallance

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Alex van Someren

Government Office for Science (GO-Science)

Ashok Vaswani


Tracey Waltho

Citizens Advice

Peter Watkins

Chatham House

David Williams

MOD, Defence and Security Accelerator

Katrina Williams

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Chris Wormald

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Philip Wynn Owen

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)