Nicky Morgan MP and Dr Elaine Gosling

Nicky and Elaine 2012 Nicky Morgan MP and Dr Elaine Gosling at Loughborough University, November 2012

In 2012, Dr Elaine Yolande Gosling, Research Associate in the Design Ergonomics Research Group in the Design School at Loughborough University was paired with Nicky Morgan MP for Loughborough and Assistant Government Whip.


Elaine's research interests are in Inclusive Design, User Centred Design and Ergonomics. Her current research projects include the New Dynamics of Ageing "Working Late: Ageing productively through Design" research project which investigates the role of good design in healthy working and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded project to "Reinvent the Toilet" which aims to provide clean, safe, durable, affordable and desirable toileting solutions.


Elaine describes Nicky Morgan MP’s visit to the Loughborough Design School:
"My research is all about people. How can we learn from people how best to meet their needs and aspirations through better, healthy and more inclusive user-centred design? Much of my data collection is not done in the School, my lab is 'out there', where ever people are working and living, I go to where the action is. I gather through meeting with people; interviews, questionnaire surveys, ergonomics observations and participatory design. I aim to present the information I gather in ways that best represent the information from the participants of the research to the users of the research; this could be through design resource outputs, presentations, posters and papers. I also aim to for research led teaching when working with our students. I am also keen to see what happens to my research once the period of funding has ended, this was one of the reason I applied for the Royal Society Scheme and feel that it is so important to communicate research to all potential users, including policy makers.


For Nicky's visit I aimed to give an overview of the breadth of my work, as well as to get her to 'have-a-go' with a few of my research outputs. With Dr Diane Gyi, my research supervisor, we presented our work with "Working Late" project which considers the effects of design on health when working later into life. The Organiser for Working Late (OWL) is a design resource co-developed with workers in industry. OWL contains tools to help workers of all ages to think about healthy working, ergonomics and workplace design. We got Nicky to have a go on the resource and gave her a set of the downloadable materials so she can think about her workplace in Westminster! We also presented our work with Dr Ruth Sims on the "Reinvent the Toilet" project and highlighted the need for understanding the user needs from toilets. I also demonstrated some of my work from the Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge where I worked on the i~design 3 project developing ways to calculate the number of people excluded from using a product, service or system due to its design and demonstrated the online and wearable impairment simulators which aim get people to empathise with impairments other people might experience; reduces ability to move fingers and to see clearly.


I also wanted to highlight the other fantastic work in the School so I was really please to introduce Nicky to some of my colleagues and their research. We also met with senior staff from the University and School; Prof Bob Allison VC of Loughborough University, Prof Tracy Bhamra Dean of Loughborough Design School, Dr Neil Mansfield Associate Dean of Research who were all very keen to hear more about the Royal Society Pairing Scheme and our thoughts on it!"


Nicky Morgan adds, “It was, firstly, very interesting to visit the Design School at Loughborough University. I was impressed with the fabulous modern working environment – very different from the House of Commons! In my former role as PPS to the Minister for Universities and Science I began to understand the important role which academic research plays in our lives and in enhancing Britain’s reputation around the world. So, it was extremely useful to hear more about Elaine’s work and its practical implications. In particular the OWL project has many potential applications and the Reinventing the Toilet project is of international importance. I shall definitely use the presentation Elaine gave me to inform my work in my constituency and in Westminster.”

Applying for this scheme

The 2014 scheme will open for applications from scientists from 22 April to 23 May.

Format of the scheme

Week in Westminster
Programme of activities for the scientists, including a day with the MP or civil servant.

Reciprocal visits 
A visit to the MP's constituency or the civil servant's office and a visit to the scientist's research facilities.