Voice of the Future 2019 (Article featured in the SLS Newsletter, April 2019)
On Tuesday 12 March Beth Hill, a second year undergraduate tutee with Dr Freya Harrison, represented the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) at the Voice of the Future event in Parliament. The event, organised by the RSB, allowed early career scientists and politicians to come together to discuss the future of science.
This event offers young scientists and engineers the chance to put their burning science policy questions to key political figures, through a unique opportunity in Westminster. Organised by the Royal Society of Biology on behalf of the science and engineering community, the annual event reverses the format of a Parliamentary Select Committee, giving a panel of early career scientists the opportunity to question senior figures from Parliament and Government on issues that matter to them.
"I was delighted to be one of the RSB representatives chosen to ask my own question (this is only confirmed on the day and other representatives who do not get an opportunity to pose a question join the audience). I asked my question, regarding the approach being taken to tackle mental health issues, in the first session which drew MPs from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Committee, personally answered the question highlighting his own commitment to try and ensure that mental health is addressed with the same importance as physical health. His reply was very focused and comprehensive.
The format of the event was that all the seats which are usually taken by MPs, were occupied by those asking questions and the MPs sat in the seats usually taken by 'witnesses'. The reason for this was to place a greater emphasis on the young representatives seeking answers, rather than that of the MPs who were there to answer them.
What I found particularly interesting was the range of questions asked. They varied from quite high level policy topics to more practical questions about, for example, how to encourage greater diversity in STEM careers. I got a real sense that there are many initiatives either in place, or being considered, to highlight the benefits and rewards of studying science related subjects.
Overall it was a great experience and certainly gave me a good insight into the workings of Parliament and the key issues currently of concern."
An audio recording of the event is available here
STEM for Britain - Science in Parliament
The overall aim of STEM for BRITAIN is to encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians who are an essential part of continuing progress in and development of UK research and R&D.
The university was represented by a number of researchers in 2019, and Francesca Crucinio, a researcher from the Department of Statistics struck Bronze for the excellence of her mathematical research, walking away with £750.
Her research, which focuses on Sequential Monte Carlo for Fredholm Equations of the First Kind was judged against 29 other shortlisted researchers’ work and came out as one of the three winners.
“It was great fun to present my research at STEM for BRITAIN, I’m very grateful for winning Bronze
and my work being recognised by MPs and experts.”
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