Press release issued 29 October 2012
A neuroscientist from the University of Bristol will be swapping her lab bench for the backbench when she visits Dr Claire Craig, CBE, at the House of Commons for a “Week in Westminster” [29 Oct to 2 Nov] — a unique ‘pairing’ scheme run by The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.
Dr Nadia Cerminara from the University’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology will shadow Dr Craig, to learn about her work leading the Government Office for Science while gaining an insight into how science policy is formed. As part of her visit Nadia will attend a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting, the Prime Minister’s Question Time, and meet with Professor Sir John Beddington, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor.
Dr Nadia Cerminara said: “I’m really excited to be taking part in the scheme so that I can learn how science plays a part in policy making, especially given the importance being placed on science and technology as a strategy for long-term economic growth and for solving challenging issues such as long-term energy security, ageing and climate change.”
Dr Claire Craig added: “Science and engineering and access to the latest academic expertise are critical to government business and this scheme helps us bridge gaps in understanding of each side by the other. I am delighted to take part in it, and hope it can inspire this talented group of scientists to work with government in future.”
The Royal Society’s MP, Senior Policy Makers, Scientist pairing scheme aims to build bridges between parliamentarians and some of the leading scientists in the UK. It is an opportunity for MPs to become better informed about science issues and for scientists to understand how they can influence science policy. Over 200 pairs of scientists and MPs have taken part in the scheme since it was launched in 2001.
Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society said: “We live in a world facing increasing challenges that can only be addressed with a clear understanding of science. From climate change to influenza outbreaks, GM food to nuclear power, our MPs have to make decisions about complex issues that will affect the lives of all those in the UK and, in many cases, more widely throughout the world. This means that MPs and scientists have a responsibility to engage with each other to get the best possible scientific advice into public policy making.
“We set up the Royal Society’s MP Scientist pairing scheme in 2001 to provide the opportunity for MPs and scientists to build long-term relationships with each other and have now organised over two hundred pairings.
“I know many parliamentarians and scientists who have gained from the scheme, and the shaping of public policy can only improve over time as these relationships continue to grow.”
The Royal Society
The Royal Society is the UK’s national academy of science. Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. Our expertise is embodied in the Fellowship, which is made up of the finest scientists from the UK and beyond. Our goals are to: Invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation Influence policymaking with the best scientific advice Invigorate science and mathematics education Increase access to the best science internationally Inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery For further information please visit http://royalsociety.org. Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety.
Dr Nadia Cerminara
I’m really excited to be taking part in the scheme so that I can learn how science plays a part in policy making, especially given the importance being placed on science and technology as a strategy for long-term economic growth and for solving challenging issues such as long-term energy security, ageing and climate change.