Dr Sarah Mackintosh and Alasdair Grainger

Dr Sarah Mackintosh and Alasdair Grainger Dr Sarah Mackintosh and Alasdair Grainger

Dr Sarah Mackintosh from the Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage, at Nottingham University was paired with Alasdair Grainger from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Sarah’s research focuses on all areas of carbon capture and storage (CCS) a major research area in the field of climate change, including experimental work into photochemical conversion of CO2 into fuels or chemicals.
Alasdair Grainger was a Senior Policy Advisor at DECC working with analysts who collaborate with statisticians and scientists to ensure policy decision-making is informed by high-quality analysis and a solid evidence base.

Sarah outlined her experience of the scheme, which included two days spent at DECC with her pair:

When I visited DECC, Alasdair and I attended a presentation on private investment in green technologies, which is of particular interest to me as one of the key questions surrounding my research in carbon capture and storage is who will pay for this technology.

We also attended a meeting at the Royal Academy of Engineers. The attendees from the Academy were interested in and concerned about government policy on green technologies and future energy supply. During the meeting the employees at the academy threw a barrage of questions at Alasdair about many different topics including nuclear and electric cars. I realised that Alasdair has to know about so many different areas and has to be able to recall this information under pressured conditions.

I think that the Royal Society placed me with the ideal pair – it was extremely useful for me to experience DECC especially as they are so important in the work I do. I enjoyed being paired with someone who is so focused and enthusiastic about his work and someone who goes to so much effort to learn about every aspect of government.

I would highly recommend the scheme to everyone!

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.