Crook Fellowship LogoThe Crook Public Service Fellowships at the University of Sheffield provide the opportunity for future leaders in public and not-for-profit sectors to take short periods away from their day job and immerse themselves in a collaborative project with academic colleagues on a pressing policy issue or challenge.

The Fellowships enable public service colleagues to engage in new and innovative thinking that can sometimes be inhibited by the day-to-day workplace pressures of leadership and management. Crook Public Service Fellows work closely with our academics in a partnership that offers mutual learning and encourages original thinking, combining the latest academic research with practical experience, in order to influence their sector and potentially the wider society.

The University of Sheffield is committed to undertaking excellent and high impact research. At the heart of our mission is the desire to help people understand the world more and to contribute to making it a better place. The Crook Public Service Fellowship scheme is an essential part of helping us achieve this mission.

What’s it about?

Crook Public Service Fellows benefit from:

  • Gaining further knowledge and insight into their field of expertise
  • Building professional networks through collaborating with leading academics in their field
  • Enhancing their personal development
  • Producing high quality work that is useful not only to their employer, but also the sector by ideally influencing a wider policy debate

The Fellowship is a year-long programme. This typically involves four short intensive periods at the University where the Fellows are paired with University colleagues, working together on a specific theme/challenge.

As part of the scheme, Fellows are expected to co-produce a paper or output with their partner academic (or academic team). Such outputs might include a policy paper or report, an academic paper or another form of output, subject to agreement. All outputs of the Fellows are expected to be widely promoted and disseminated, with support from the University. The academics involved, who will be matched with the Fellows, will be selected for their high quality policy-relevant research. The collaborative projects should offer new insights and be of value to policy makers and practitioners. They must have to potential to impact on the wider debates in the field.

Fellows will be invited to present their projects at an event for senior policy makers, practitioners and academics at the end of their programme. Additional bespoke activities per project will also be encouraged to help facilitate discussion and debate around the issue of focus.

Current theme: 'Children's Chances'

Each year, the Crook Public Service Fellowships are focused on a particular theme that aligns with the strategic priorities and academic strengths of the University. In 2015, the first year of the Fellowships, the theme was ‘Democracy’, with the majority of Fellows linked to the University’s Sir Bernard Crick Centre. In 2016-17, the focus of the Crook Public Service Fellowships was 'The Housing Challenge' with the opportunity to engage with the University’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Urban Institute at Sheffield and other expertise across campus. 

The current theme for 2017-18 is Children's Chances. The Faculty of Social Sciences has a unique set of experience and expertise to enable us to provide a holistic and fresh approach to this significant, cross-cutting and timely challenge. Our expertise covers areas such as child welfare inequality, disadvantaged communities, early childhood education, vulnerable older children and family literacy, and we welcome project ideas across a full range of policy issues within this theme. There will be opportunities to engage with the University’s Departments of Sociological Studies, Geography, Politics, Education and Urban Studies and Planning. Applications are now closed. 

Advisory Group

The Crook Public Fellowships scheme is overseen by a high level Advisory Group. Members include:

  • Stephen Aldridge, Director for Analysis and Data at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)
  • Sir Stephen Bubb, Head, The Charity Futures Programme, ACEVO
  • Ms Jenny Dibden, Head, Government Social Research Service
  • Professor Anthony Crook, Emeritus Professor of Town and Regional Planning and former Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield
  • Ms Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive, The Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Lord Kerslake, Chair of Peabody and Be First and a member of the House of Lords
  • Dr Emma Stone, Director of Policy and Research, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Professor Gill Valentine, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield 
  • Professor Craig Watkins, Vice President and Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield (Chair)

For more information on this scheme or if you are interested in applying for future cohorts please email The call for applications is annual, usually in March/April and the scheme commences in September/October to coincide with the academic year.

Professor ADH Crook is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sheffield. He served as Pro-Vice Chancellor for a decade until 2008 and was awarded a CBE in 2014 for his service to housing. Professor Crook has been Chair of Shelter and Sheffield Homes and has also held senior roles with Orbit Housing Group and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. He serves on the RTPI Board and on the national council of the Academy of Social Sciences. The scheme has been established and named in recognition of Professor Crook’s commitment to public service and to reflect his support for the Fellowships.