Policy and Research Legislative Fellowship

The Center for Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Policy and Research Legislative Fellowship. This new, non-partisan initiative, supported by the Office of the Chancellor-Public Engagement, will match graduate students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with a state legislator representing Champaign-Urbana or a neighboring district to collaborate on a policy research project that can inform public policy to help make Illinois a better place to live. 

Potential areas for research project topics include the environment; health and housing; business and trade; criminal justice reform; government, taxes and infrastructure; and education.

The application period for the Summer 2022 and 2022-23 Academic Year Policy and Research Legislative Fellowship programs is now open. The deadline to apply for the program is March 31 at 11:59 p.m. 

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Goals and Expectations  

Fellows will use their research expertise to contribute toward developing a policy agenda in a state legislator’s office, thereby gaining hands-on experience in bridging the gap between theory and practice at the state level. Fellows will attend policy meetings with legislators and policy directors, watch legislative sessions and track bills to frame research activities that will assist in developing legislation from the ground up. In addition to research support and supervision from state policymakers, research fellows will take part in seminars and professional development activities at UIUC.

The aim of the Policy and Research Legislative Fellowship is to provide graduate students with:

  • First-hand experience and insight into the fast-paced legislative environment and law-making process
  • An understanding of how to connect research to real-world policy applications
  • Legislative and policy writing skills
  • Exposure to different policy and research areas that will help students evaluate their career interests and plans

Program Details 

  • Fellows will receive a 50% (20 hours per week) graduate student appointment for the semester(s) (e.g., Summer, Fall, and Spring) they participate in the program.  
  • Fellowships will take place at legislators’ local district offices; each fellow will coordinate with their supervisor regarding work hours and locations (including hybrid remote options).  
  • The Summer 2022 fellowship program will take place May 16 through August 4, 2022. The 2022-23 academic year fellowship program will take place over the course of the academic term (approximately August 22 through December 16, 2022, and January 17 through May 12, 2023 ).  

Eligibility and Application Process 

All full-time UIUC graduate students whose departments allow them to take 50% RA positions are eligible to participate in the Policy and Research Legislative Fellowship. Public policy is an interdisciplinary field and students from a variety of areas – including, for example, education, economics, law, political science, information sciences, food science and human nutrition, and social work – are encouraged to apply. No prior policy research experience is required.

Candidates must provide the following: 

  • Current curriculum vitae 
  • Unofficial transcripts 
  • Contact information for 2 references familiar with their scholarly and/or policy work
  • Letter of Interest (1000 words or less) indicating (1) interest and expectations for the program, including the policy area(s) on which they would like to work; (2) expertise area and relevant skillsets; and (3) career goals

Applications are due March 31, 2022, and selected candidates will be notified by e-mail by the end of April. Decisions regarding the placement of applicants in the different District Offices will be made based on merit and research fit.  

Please direct any questions to Elsa Augustine (elsaa@illinois.edu).