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This scheme builds bridges between parliamentarians, Civil Servants and some of the best research scientists in the UK.
Andrew Miller MP and Dr Thanh Nguyen
Participating scientists are paired with either an MP or civil servant and the Royal Society supports them by arranging a 'Week in Westminster' and reciprocal visits. The scheme aims to help MPs and civil servants establish longstanding links with practising research scientists and to help research scientists understand political decision making and its associated pressures.
Since 2001 over 180 scientists have been paired with MPs and Civil Servants.
Previous participants include Rt Hon John Denham MP, Nick Clegg MP, Julia Goldsworthy MP, Ed Vaizey MP and Anne Snelgrove MP as well as Civil Servants from across government and scientists from universities and research centres across the UK.
In 2012, the Royal Society hosted the first event for alumni of the scheme. This was an opportunity to meet and to discuss their experiences, and how they have used their experience in both parliamentary work and research.
Cloning, GM crops, Climate Change and nanotechnology: these are issues at the forefront of debate in Parliament. The Royal Society offers this scheme as an easy way to provide MP’s with the opportunity to explore the science behind their decisions. By pairing a MP or Civil Servant with a leading scientist, both gain an understanding of the work behind the fundamental issues involved in each field.
Andrew Stunell MP and Dr Martin Attfield
The Royal Society Pairing scheme offers scientists the opportunity to understand the policy process and explore methods of sharing their knowledge with Government. Scientists will be paired with either an MP or Civil Servant. They will spend time together in their Laboratory and in turn in their paired MP’s constituency or Civil Servant's Government office. All scientists will participate in a ‘Week in Westminster’ providing a valuable insight into how science policy is formed.
Applicants are required to have at least two years postdoctoral research experience. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate good communication skills, and in particular, an ability to communicate their research to a lay audience.
The 2012 scheme is now closed to applications from scientists.
Applications for the 2013 scheme will open in Spring 2013.
Week in WestminsterProgramme of activities for the scientists, including a day with the MP or civil servant.
Reciprocal visitsA visit to the MP's constituency or the civil servant's office and a visit to the scientist's research facilities.
See a list of all previous participants here.
"For a small input of time compared to other pairing schemes [it] enhances understanding and knowledge in a practical way." Linda Gilroy MP who was paired with Professor Noel Morgan
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