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PhD student Suzannah Ravenscroft has just finished a three month fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) in Westminster. 

Suzannah has sadly passed away since this story was written. This post remains up to celebrate her successes and achievements. 

During her fellowship, Suzannah lived in London and worked on the Parliamentary estate full time. The main task within the fellowship was to write a POST note on an assigned topic – in this case education in youth custody. This involved reading and researching into the topic.

Off the back of the research, Suzannah interviewed experts in the field, relevant stakeholders and governmental departments. She also sat in on relevant debates in the Lords and Commons, all party parliamentary groups and select committee hearings.

From all of this the POST note is written. The last half of the placement involved writing, clarifying information and having an internal review from permanent POST staff. This was followed by an external review where the POST note was sent to the people interviewed during the research stage and finally a sign off with the director of POST.


Suzannah applied for the fellowship because she wanted to learn more about how scientific research and policy can interact. Her PhD concerns anxiety in four to eight year olds, and child mental health will always be policy-relevant.

"I was interested in how I could get any relevant findings on the radar of policy-makers. The fellowship gave me an insight into the workings of parliament and the culture and processes that policy-making decisions go through."

Coming to Reading

Suzannah also talked to us about why she decided to come to the University of Reading, and her experience.

"I chose to come to Reading so I could continue working with my supervisor whom I had a completed a summer placement with. Also, the University offered me the chance to work with some of the best researchers within my topic of interest – anxiety in children.

"The research facilities at Reading also meant that I could realise some really exciting research ideas I had developed with my supervisor."

 Suzannah says that she has most enjoyed being able to push her ideas and research forward. Having the opportunity to talk to people with such a wide variety of expertise has been great.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed studying here. The support of my fellow PhD students and the anxiety research group within which I work has been invaluable throughout the PhD process."

The future

"I would love to stay in research and possibly move on to a postdoc. I would welcome the opportunity to feed my research into policy in the way I saw other researchers do while I was at POST."

Learn more about PhD study in our School


Vincent DeLuca: bilingualism and brain structure

A finalist for the PhD Researcher of the Year award in 2018, Vincent examines the effects of bilingualism on brain structure, function and cognition. His research spans psychology and clinical language sciences.

Professor Claire Williams: developing new drugs for epilepsy

Professor Claire Williams and her team identified the anti-convulsant potential of cannabidiol (CBD) and its efficacy in treating young adults with epilepsy.

Willemijn Doedens: communicating after a brain injury

While working as a speech and language therapist, Willemijn had many questions about the impairments she was treating every day. To investigate them in greater depth, she embarked on a PhD at Reading.
Athena SWAN Silver Award