OPEN Fellowships

OPEN Fellowships enable Oxford researchers with a passion for improving public policy to understand better the relevance of their research to local, regional, national and international policymakers; to work with policymakers to identify and explore mutual interests; and to develop and leverage networks and other resources to generate benefits to research, policy and the wider world.

Researchers from any discipline at Oxford can apply for an OPEN Fellowship.

Meet the 2020 OPEN Fellows

Arvind Kurian Abraham 

Arvind Kurian Abraham specializes in constitutional law and has worked as the Legislative Advisor to Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament of India, and drafted several Bills including on areas such as hate crimes and mob lynching. The OPEN Fellowship has enabled him to collaborate with scholars at Oxford's Faculty of Law to identify policy and legal measures to address the inequalities that have been particularly exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, to inform and mobilise the adoption of a comprehensive equality legislation in India.

Dr Claire Cullen (Blavatnik School of Government)

Claire partnered with Young 1ove Organization, a non-government organisation based in Botswana that connects youth to proven life-saving information in education and health. Together, they have supported policymakers to rapidly scale-up and evaluate a 'low-tech' SMS and phone call intervention to stem children’s learning losses during COVID,  and to build rigorous evidence-based systems using iterative A/B testing.  During the Fellowship, Claire worked with Young 1ove’s research and programs teams to conduct randomised trials testing and scaling Young 1ove's phone-based education program with over 10,000 children in India, Nepal and Kenya during COVID school closures. This work has led to numerous partnerships with other organisations keen to implement and test the program in new contexts. 

Dr Neven Fučkar (Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment)

Public health in the UK and across the world is inherently linked to climate-related risks. As the climate changes, climate extremes (such as heatwaves, droughts, floods, etc.) that threaten human health and the socio-economic fabric of society are occurring at an increasing frequency and intensity. This OPEN project, with the Climate Change and Health Group at Public Health England (PHE), has made stakeholder-oriented contributions relevant for public health policy on adaptation and resilience strengthening in current and future climates. The outcomes encompass peer-reviewed papers on the interaction of climate change with human health and food systems, as well as inputs to selected chapters of the 4th report on Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK. Neven has also co-organised a series of online, monthly PHE panel discussions on the road to COP26, “Climate Change, Health and the 2030 Agenda”. 

Timothy Kuiper  (Department of Zoology)

African elephant populations declined by an estimated 30% between 2007-2016 due largely to ivory poaching, with significant implications for African states. Dr Kuiper of Oxford’s Interdiscipliniary Centre for Conservation Science is partnering with colleagues at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) to tackle elephant poaching through unlocking the immense potential of poaching data collected by wildlife rangers. The team's long-term research in Zimbabwe has shown that ranger-collected data can help park managers track changes in poaching, and strategically direct and measure the performance of different anti-poaching strategies. Tim has worked with ZimParks colleagues to develop a national policy brief that translates this research into guidelines and strategies for maximising the contribution of ranger-collected data to enhanced management across Zimbabwe’s parks. The draft brief has already enjoyed endorsement by senior government officials and an implementation strategy workshop has been planned with key actors (local managers, rangers, and data managers) from identified pilot sites. Find out more


Meet some of our previous OPEN Fellows

Dr Sivapriya (Priya) Mothilal Bhagavathy (Department of Engineering Science)

Priya is working in partnership with the Smart Energy Innovation team in the Science and Innovation for Climate Change Directorate (Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) to ensure policymakers invest in smart technologies that maximise the security, flexibility, and sustainability of energy systems. Read about Priya's OPEN Fellowship experience.


Dr Michelle Cain (Oxford Martin School)

Michelle, a Science and Policy Research Associate from the Oxford Martin School, is working alongside climate change specialists from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to deliver several resources designed to feed into policy-making. Read about Michelle's OPEN Fellowship experience.


Dr Jack Matthews (Oxford Museum of Natural History)

Jack has worked in partnership with two organisations sponsored by the government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Natural England and The National Forest Company) to create a science-led framework for managing and conserving the geological features of Charnwood Forest. Read about Jack's OPEN Fellowship experience.


Dr Sonali Nag (Department of Education)

Sonali worked with policymakers in the state of Karnataka in southern India to create new resources to improve language and literacy outcomes for the state’s 6 million pre- and primary schoolchildren. Read about Sonali's OPEN Fellowship experience.


Dr Alison Smith (School of Geography and the Environment)

Alison completed her Fellowship in 2019, working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council to quantify and map the ‘natural capital’ value of all land in the county to inform development of the Oxford to Cambridge Growth Arc. Find out more about Alison’s experience and the impact of the partnership. You can also listen to Alison talk about her work and find further details about her project.


Professor Kate Sullivan de Estrada (Oxford School of Global and Area Studies)

Kate is Associate Professor in the International Relations of South Asia. In 2019 she worked with the Indian Ocean Commission and others to strengthen regional maritime security, including through evaluation of relevant regional policy initiatives. Listen to Kate discuss her OPEN Fellowship.


Dr Joe Wherton (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences)

Joe's OPEN Fellowship enabled him to explore how a new analytical framework (the Non-adoption, Abandonment and challenges to Scale-up, Spread and Sustainability, or NASSS) could be used to support the planning and implementation of technology-support change programmes within health care organisations. Read about Joe's OPEN Fellowship experience.


Dr Anna Wilson (Oxford School of Global and Area Studies)

In 2019 Anna completed a Fellowship focused on developing an interdisciplinary approach to understanding viewpoint construction in media from the multimodal perspective, and strengthening international policy responses to information threats. Read about Anna’s research.