Oxford University scientist visits politicians in Westminster
Dr Alistair Farley from the University of Oxford swapped a lab coat for legislation when he visited Donna Davidson at the House of Lords for a week in Westminster. The week (26 - 30 November) is part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science, with support from the Government Science & Engineering (GSE) profession.
During his visit Alistair shadowed Donna Davidson and learnt about her work in the Lords Science and Technology Committee. As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, Alistair also attended a Select Committee.
The visit provided Alistair with a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how his research can be used to make evidence based decisions. Speaking of his pairing, Alistair said:
“The Royal Society’s pairing scheme is an excellent opportunity to enhance the dialogue between scientists and policymakers and to understand some of the factors that influence policy decisions. Scientists, I think, have a responsibility to communicate their research with the public and the scheme is a great way of placing one’s work in context within the wider scientific community and society as a whole.”
The Royal Society’s pairing scheme, which started in 2001, aims to build bridges between parliamentarians, civil servants and some of the best scientists in the UK.
Donna Davidson and her team will get hands on experience of Alistair’s research in the development of new drug analogues for medicinal chemistry when they don a lab coat to visit Alistair at the Department of Chemistry in the New Year.