This week I am off to London for a ‘Week in Westminster’ as part of the Royal Society MP/Civil-Servant Pairing Scheme 2013. The scheme brings parliamentarians and civil servants together with leading research scientists from around UK with the aim of encouraging communication and establishing long term links between scientists and government. Participating scientists are paired with either an MP or civil servant and take part in reciprocal visits and a ‘Week in Westminster’. It is hoped that the MP and civil servants benefit from being given the opportunity to explore the science behind their decisions while scientists gain insight in to the how science policy is formed and explore methods of sharing their knowledge with government.
I have been paired with Dr David Bacon, the Head of Science Division at the Welsh Government. Over the next couple of months I will be travelling to Cardiff to spend some time with David and David will have the opportunity to spend time in Swansea University to see some of the excellent research being done here first hand. I am really looking forward visiting Westminster and meeting other participants. The scientists have a packed schedule in Westminster, including talks from the Hansard Society, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the Science and Technology Committees of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and David McKay, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The week will also include interactive sessions and panel discussions and my local MP has kindly offered to spend some time with me. I see this as an excellent opportunity to learn more about science policy and how it is formed and I hope to build lasting relationships within government and the science community.