Parliamentarians and scientists swap places in 2023 Royal Society Pairing Scheme

26 March 2023

Next week, 27 – 31 March, 30 UK scientists will swap pipettes for policy as they shadow parliamentarians and civil servants during a Week in Westminster, as part of the Royal Society Pairing Scheme.

The Royal Society’s Pairing Scheme, which started in 2001, aims to build bridges between parliamentarians and research scientists in the UK. Together, they will learn about each other’s worlds, explore how research informs policy making and help to tackle the pressing issues of our time.

Participants this year include Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Krebs, Fellow of the Royal Society and zoologist.

Scientists taking part are drawn from universities and institutions across the UK, including the University of Bristol, University of Strathclyde and University of Birmingham.

During the week the scientists will get a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how they can share their expertise with policy makers. They will tour parliament and grill MPs in a mock select committee session.

The scheme will continue later in the year with a visit for the MPs and civil servants to the scientist partner’s laboratories and home institutions for a closer insight into the research process and how this can inform their work.

Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: “I am delighted to launch this year’s Royal Society Pairing Scheme.

“The collaboration between scientists and policymakers is essential if we are to continue fostering the UK’s potential as a scientific superpower.

“Bringing these groups together and providing them with a glimpse into each other’s worlds can build relationships and skills, which is vital to solving pressing scientific issues of our time, from climate change to infectious diseases.”