Pairing scheme

This scheme gives policymakers and research scientists an opportunity to experience each other’s worlds.

Miller and Nguyen Andrew Miller MP and Dr Thanh Nguyen

Each year 30 research scientists are paired with UK parliamentarians and civil servants. They learn about each other’s work by spending time together in Westminster and the researcher’s labs.

Those taking part gain an insight into how research findings can help inform policy making, and come away with a better understanding of how they can get involved.

“I can now see how important science is for making policies, even those that are not directly associated with science and technology issues.”

Dr Kate Lancaster paired with Anne Snelgrove MP 

See who has taken part in previous years

How does the scheme work?

The scheme takes place annually, beginning with a ‘Week in Westminster’ in which the pairs first meet. Over the week the scientists take part in workshops, hear from invited speakers and spend two days shadowing their pair.

Read last year’s ‘Week in Westminster’ agenda (PDF).

After the ‘Week in Westminster’, it is the turn of the parliamentarians and civil servants to get an insight into the world of research, undertaking reciprocal visits with their pairs.

“My day at the University’s School of Chemistry was enormously useful, particularly in understanding some of the complex issues which affect the careers of research scientists and the funding of fundamental research”

John Denham MP paired with Dr Martin Bates.

Why should I take part?

Pairing scheme - parliamentarians


  • Learn about the science behind the issues raised by your constituents and meet experts who can provide evidence on the policy issues you are dealing with
  • Visit your local universities or research institutions and meet students and researchers living in your local area
  • Find out how your local schools are encouraging students to study science and maths subjects
  • Discover how scientific research underpins the UK’s innovative industries

Find out more.

Pairing scheme - civil servants

Civil servants

  • Find out more about the science behind the policy issues you work on
  • Learn how to analyse research findings and discover how they can be used to inform the policy decisions you make
  • Make long-lasting relationships with scientists working in your field during the Week in Westminster and by visiting your pair’s research facility
  • Network with other civil servants working in scientific fields

Find out more

Pairing scheme - scientists


  • Learn how parliament and government work and how you can feed in to the policy making process
  • Find out how your research can inform policy decisions
  • Build lasting relationships with parliamentarians and civil servants
  • Network with fellow scientists

Find out more.

Read 2013 case studies below:

Applying for this scheme

Applications for scientists are now closed. Please email for more information.

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This scheme is supported by the Government Office for Science.
Government Office for Science