New Political Minds Summer School

While New Political Minds did not run in 2020, we will soon be providing details of replacement events. Details of the 2019 event remain below to illustrate PPR’s Politics and IR outreach activities.

3 day residential research workshop run by the Richardson Institute

28th, 29th and 30th August 2019 at Lancaster University

Lancaster University has recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary.  The Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion wishes to revitalise Politics/International Relations by bringing together the 35 finest young political minds (Year 12, 16 -17 year olds) to build towards the next 50 years of the University’s life and the next half century of UK Politics.

In this unique event, successful applicants will work with Politics/IR academic staff and the Richardson Institute, the UK’s oldest Peace and Conflict Research Centre, over three days to produce a series of reports on the future of Britain as seen through the eyes of people entering into the world of politics.

Students will stay on campus in Lancaster University’s award winning accommodation and will experience a range of evening activities run by Lancaster University’s Student Ambassadors.

Places at the event will be determined by completion of the application form below, in which the 32 best entrants will be invited. In order to apply, you must meet Widening Participation (WP) criteria.

By attending, you will

  •           experience university life and stay in award winning halls of residence
  •           enjoy Lancaster’s unique campus entertainment
  •           make new friends from different places and backgrounds
  •           spend time with current Lancaster University students
  •           work with experienced and internationally recognised researchers to strengthen your knowledge of politics
  •           develop key skills
  •           strengthen your CV in unique ways
  •           be able to apply for academic bursaries to guarantee financial support throughout the course of your study, should you choose to study Politics/IR at Lancaster

This site contains all materials related to New Political Minds, including resources for the four seminars held at the event, as well as resources which introduce students to Politics/IR and the Richardson Institute.

Comments made by attendees at last year’s event:

Increased subject knowledge: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the summer school and thought it was well organised and delivered. The topics were interesting and varied and gave a good insight to what politics at university would involve’

Enhanced skills and CVs: ‘Not only will I be able to put this residential on my CV and Personal Statement, but I will also be able to take away many new skills; from research to communication and also new knowledge’

Increased awareness of university study and personal achievement: ‘We were allowed to question, explore and think freely for ourselves, with guidance and support from people clearly passionate about their subjects, and even though this all took place in little seminar rooms with people we may never see again, I feel like I definitely challenged myself to take a greater interest in political aspects’

Engagement with current students and alumni: ‘The staff were awesome, especially the students of IR and the Student Ambassadors’

Student experience: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the summer school and thought it was well organised and delivered’

UKSRO Student Ambassador on the residential: ‘One of the main things that struck me while working on the New Political Minds Summer School was the extraordinary level of engagement by the students on the topics covered by the tutors. This engagement was considerably higher than that which I’ve experienced on other summer schools, and came largely from the commitment of the tutors to deliver interesting and thought provoking discussions’

Jude Rowley, 2016 Attendee:

‘The New Political Minds programme was the most realistic preparation for university life that I was able to experience before starting my degree. As well as being a thoroughly enjoyable few days, it served as a taster of what university study is really like, the likes of which I couldn’t have got from open days or anything of the sort. In particular, the programme allowed me to develop my research skills, both through working independently and as part of a group. The skills and resources that I used to complete our project as part of New Political Minds are the same that I now use when researching as part of my degree, and thus this has stood me in good stead. The standard of research required for undergraduate study is far higher than that required for A Levels, and New Political Minds introduced me to this. Furthermore, it offered me an introduction to seminars which, as I have since found, are the backbone of university study. I was unfamiliar with this style of teaching prior to taking part in New Political Minds, and the experience I gained as part of the programme proved very useful when it came to the early weeks of my degree.

Alongside the academic aspects of the programme, I also enjoyed meeting like-minded students from across the country (some of whom I have stayed in touch with). Being able to work closely with fellow students with such diverse areas of interest and expertise was a really enlightening experience and I was able to broaden my perspective on all manner of issues, particularly through working with people whose politically views were very different to my own.

Since taking part in New Political Minds, I have returned to Lancaster University to study for a degree in History and International Relations. At the time I took part in the programme, I hadn’t even considered studying at Lancaster, but the insight into the university, the staff, and the area that the programme provided was enough to persuade me that it was the place for me. I have also stood for election as a borough Councillor and undertaken independent research projects. In all these areas, New Political Minds has served me well, and I couldn’t recommend the programme highly enough to students with a keen interest in any area of political science’.

Further details:

Cost: All accommodation and meals will be free. Students will be expected to cover their own travel costs, but there is a small fund available which will allocate several £30 bursaries according to need.

Deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 3rd May 2019 by email to Katherine Young NOTE: Early applications are strongly encouraged!

Application criteria: Must be 16/17 years old, in Year 12, interested in studying Politics/International Relations at University, predicted to achieve or be near to achieving ABB in their A Levels and meet Widening Participation criteria.

IMPORTANT: Once a place is offered, students must confirm attendance by August 5th 2019 by sending through details of their travel arrangements (e.g. copy of purchased train ticket). Should no confirmation be received, places will be offered to others.

Awards: Participation in the event is one of the criteria considered for the award of PPR Bursaries to study Politics/IR at Lancaster University, subject to students receiving and accepting an offer and meeting all other conditions of entry.

Contact: Dr Matthew Johnson, Lecturer in Politics, via

Web page:


Application form

Please email responses to the following sections by 5pm Friday 3rd May 2019 to Katherine Young at


Email address:



Predicted A Level results:

In 100 words, why do you wish to study Politics/IR?:

What interests you about studying at Lancaster?:

Please confirm, by answering ‘yes’ and emboldening the relevant criteria/on, that you meet one or more of our Widening Participation criteria?

Young people from low income backgrounds (i.e. a household income of £30,000 or less);

  • Young people from lower socio-economic groups or from neighbourhoods where higher education participation is low (POLAR quintile 1). This can be checked by inputting your postcode here –
  • Young people who are first in their family to progress onto higher education;
  • Young people from ethnic backgrounds under-represented in Higher Education – These can include BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) students and white students from lower-socio economic groups (often referred to as ‘white working class’)
  • Young people with disabilities;
  • Young people with mental health problems, Specific Learning Difficulties and/or who are on the autism spectrum;
  • Young people in receipt of free school meals;
  • Young people eligible for pupil premium;
  • Children in care, looked after or care leavers;
  • Young people with caring responsibilities;
  • Young people estranged from their families;
  • Young people from gypsy and Traveller communities;
  • Refugees and asylum seekers;
  • Children from military families.

Do you wish to be considered for a £30 travel bursary?:

2018 Presentations

2017 Presentations

2016 Presentations