Posted on 20th February 2019 by Bethan Warman

BCI scientist visits politicians in Westminster

The Royal Society Pairing Scheme

John Riches Royal Society Pairing Scheme
Dr John Riches and Zoë Grunewald

Dr John Riches from our Centre for Haemato-Oncology swapped a lab coat for legislation when he visited Zoë Grunewald (Second Clerk - Commons Science and Technology Committee) at the House of Commons for a week in Westminster. The week (26-30th November 2018) was 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. The scheme, which started in 2001, aims to build bridges between parliamentarians, civil servants and some of the best scientists in the country.

From lab bench to backbench

As one of 30 scientists shortlisted for the pairing scheme, Dr Riches spent two days shadowing Zoë Grunewald to learn about her work in the Commons Science and Technology Committee, and also attended seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making. To put what they had learnt into practice, the scientists also participated in a mock Select Committee.

The visit provided Dr Riches with a behind-the-scenes insight into how policy is formed and how scientific research can be used to make evidence-based decisions. Speaking of his experience on the pairing scheme, Dr Riches said:

I am very pleased to have participated in the 2018 Royal Society Pairing Scheme. Not only was it an excellent introduction to Westminster, but it was great to meet scientists from a wide array of backgrounds as well as the team from the Royal Society. I really enjoyed this scheme and would thoroughly recommend it to scientists from any discipline and at any stage of their career.

John Riches, Mock Select Committee, Royal Society Pairing Scheme
Mock Select Committee

Zoë Grunewald is due to visit the BCI and the Francis Crick Institute soon, where she will learn about Dr Riches’ work on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Please get in touch with Dr Riches if you have any questions about or are interested in participating in future schemes.

Category: General News


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