Science Policy Fellowship

Science Policy Fellowship

Applications for the 2023-24 Science Policy Fellowship Program have now closed. Applications for the 2024-25 program will open from Mid-Late 2024.

The Science Policy Fellowship is an initiative of the Office of the Chief Scientist that aims to grow the diversity of expertise in the Australian Public Service workforce. It provides a pathway for early- to mid-career scientists to become skilled policy practitioners bringing scientific expertise into the policy process.

Fellows are employed as policy officers by participating Commonwealth Government host departments for 12 months and receive on-the-job training in, and exposure to, policymaking.

Fellows are also supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist, have access to mentors, and are provided with a range of unique opportunities, including networking.

Program details

  • The fellowship gives you the opportunity to work for 12 months as a policy officer within a participating Commonwealth Government host department.
  • You will receive on-the-job training in, and exposure to, government process and policymaking as well as ongoing support from the Office of the Chief Scientist.
  • You will also have access to regular networking events.


To be eligible for the Science Policy Fellowship 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 3 years of professional engineering experience also qualify).
  • be no more than 15 years post PhD completion (adjusted for career breaks)
  • be prepared to relocate to Canberra if you currently live interstate.
  • obtain a minimum baseline security clearance, involving pre-employment and background checks.
  • APS employees that are employed in a research role in a Commonwealth research institution are eligible to apply. However, if you are an APS employee in a policy or program role, you are not eligible as you are already embedded in the policymaking process.

Application requirements

Application details will be available closer to the opening date.

Key dates

Applications open Mid-Late 2024
Applications close Mid-Late 2024
Shortlisting Mid-Late 2024
Interview Late 2024
Process finalised — offers made Late 2024
Program commencement Late 2024

*subject to change

If you have any questions, you can email our Entry Level Programs Team.

What do our Fellows have to say?

Some previous Science Policy Fellows have shared their experiences.

James Suttil

"Previously, I completed my PhD in the field of chemistry with a focus on catalysis for the production of commodity chemicals for the plastics industry. From there, I spent over seven years in the USA conducting research in academia and industry with an emphasis on chemistry for enabling oil and gas and energy storage technologies. Upon returning to Australia, I spent time at the TGA and DAWE in chemical regulatory roles before joining the Science Policy Fellowship (SPF). As part of the SPF, I was placed in the National Water Grid Authority's Science Program and now assist with policy and program delivery. The Science Program's work focuses on procuring best in world science to inform water infrastructure investment across Australia. As part of this work I am honing my project management, negotiation and stakeholder engagement skills as we work with states and territories and leading research organisations to align on water science and funding priorities. I am also gaining in-depth knowledge of governmental process, including procurement skills."

Holly Vuong

"Before becoming an Office of the Chief Scientist Science Policy Fellow for the 2021/2022 cohort, I was working two roles at the Australian National University. I was a Senior Knowledge and Engagement Officer with the Threatened Species Recovery Hub where I worked at the interface between researchers and policy end-users to develop opportunities for knowledge exchange to inform policies and programs to improve outcomes for threatened species. My other role was a Senior Research Project Officer in the Humanitarian Health Research Initiative where I oversaw the high level administrative processes of the team and engaged with internal and external stakeholders to expand research opportunities and visibility. I'm currently working in the Futures and Insights area of Data Analytics and Policy Division. My role includes opportunities to support line areas to consider future outcomes of their policies and programs using foresight tools and to examine larger trends occurring in our society that would have impact on the Department in general. I co-develop and facilitate workshops with stakeholders, contribute to our Watch List summary product which focuses on future and emerging signals of change, and am in the process of developing an end of year product looking at larger trends over the year. In the near future, I'll also be supporting the branch with larger policy projects. From this role, I'm learning about how the APS works, the policy processes — from levers and pitch to the implementation, thinking strategically, facilitation skills, adapting to online collaboration, and engaging with different people across the Department."

Find out more