Scottish Justice Fellows Q&A and Process Note

Process Note on Selection of Fellows

We note here the process of reviewing applications and selecting awardees:

After advertising a call for proposals, a total of 15 applications were received from people who had completed or are completing doctorates at Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde Universities. Numerous enquiries were received, some from those outside of Scotland, and all questions received and answers provided are listed below.

Once eligibility was checked, applications were scored on the criteria in the call:

  • –Clarity of expression in explaining the PhD topic and key questions
  • –Relevance and timeliness of doctoral topic for dissemination to policy and practice audiences
  • –Useful and engaging ideas about forms of output
  • –Feasible timeline

 

The assessment panel consisted of Head of Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government; Director of SIPR; Director and one Associate Director of SCCJR. Where an application came from the reviewer’s own institution, or where the reviewer had worked directly with an applicant, the reviewer declared this interest and did not participate in the scoring of that applicant.

The top five highest scoring applications were awarded a Fellowship. The scores of these applications clustered together fairly tightly while the sixth ranked and lower fell outside of this cluster and so it was decided to make five awards total.

Reflexive commentary on applications:

All the applications had clear strengths, and offered distinctive contributions to informing the work of policy and practice. Across all the applications, successful or not, the review panel was particularly impressed by the range and creativity of outputs proposed, and the interesting and important nature of research topics people are working on. A number of applications lacked specificity about timetable, which was not fatal to scoring but did result in a much reduced score if there were other issues of feasibility felt to arise in the proposal. In particular, proposals which sought to run focus groups and workshops or conduct new research potentially risked feasibility given the short time frame of the fellowships and the aim of the Fellowships to facilitate translation of completed research into policy and practice accessible guidance.

 

Application Q&As

Below are all questions received and answers sent during the application period:

Q. I worked in policy and so I do have some experience of working for and with Government. I would like to check given my experience if I am suitable to apply or whether the fellowships are intended for those with less experience of dissemination?

A. The Fellowships are intended to create opportunities for relevant research to be developed into forms that can most effectively be accessed by those in policy or practice. There is no particular advantage for those with more or less experience working with or writing for policy makers.

 

Q. I wanted to check about the level of commitment required. I understand this can be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, please can you clarify what the expectations would be for taking this on part-time? For example, number of hours per week?

A. There is no specific expectation of hours per week. Fellows will be matched with an academic mentor and there is an expectation that they will make time to meet with this mentor to assist development of dissemination. In addition, Fellows will be expected to make space, given due notice, in their diaries for the policymaker session and the writing workshop (dates TBD) to support preparation of outputs, and to attend the end of Fellowship conference to present their work sometime in March or April. We are generally hoping the Fellows will also have some interaction with each other and form a supportive community. So while part-time working is perfectly acceptable, we would hope Fellows would welcome some interaction with other Fellows and the partners involved in this initiative.

 

Q. Can I apply even though I did not attend a Scottish University for my PhD. I have lived in Scotland for many years, did my Masters at a Scottish university on a topic within Scottish criminal justice, and currently work/volunteer with a voluntary sector organisation directly engaged in crime and justice issues in Scotland, and can see how my doctoral research could inform this. My PhD is from an English University.

A. We are sorry to say that in this inaugural year of the scheme we are limiting applications to those graduating from Scottish Universities. There had been some consideration of opening up applications to any university, within and beyond the UK, but as this is the first time we are running the scheme, thought it would be important to start small and if successful grow from there. If the scheme runs in future years, we will be thinking about this kind of situation as an opportunity to expand eligibility.

 

Q. I was wondering if the £3000.00 can be used to cover FEC within my institution as I am now a full time staff member?

A. The Fellowship scheme is open to those who are in full-time academic posts. However, we are not yet sure how the logistics of this would best be arranged to accommodate this status. It is possible it could be supplied as FEC, or it may need to be processed in another form (as a consultancy payment, for example). This will depend on the rules of the academic institutions involved, and would be discussed and negotiated at the point of success in winning a Fellowship.

 

Q. Parental/Maternity Issues: I will be having a child at a point falling within the period of funding for this initiative. Am I eligible to apply for this scheme?

A. Expecting a child is not necessarily a bar to applying to the scheme, and we would hope to make it possible for those in all kinds of family and caring circumstances to take part. There may be accommodations and adjustments we can make to support participation of new parents. The main thing would be for those applying to be in a position to meaningfully engage with the Scottish Justice Fellows programme, which includes both producing an agreed set of outputs and an experiential element of engaging with the other Fellows, an academic mentor, and the policy colleagues who will be part of the away day. So for example, it might be possible to extend the deadline for outputs, but for the Fellow to attend the end of fellowship conference and still have the opportunity of sharing their work. We are not able to shift the Fellowship to an entirely separate time period (e.g. following a period of maternity leave where that ends beyond the end date of the Fellowship) as an essential component of the scheme is the experiential part of working with other Fellows.