June 16, 2016, by Emma Thorne

Visit to Central College, Nottingham with Lilian Greenwood MP

Dr Rebecca Dewey, Research Fellow in Neuroimaging at the University of Nottingham, gives an invited talk at Central College, Nottingham to a class of science students and Lilian Greenwood MP.

Central College, Nottingham is one of the Royal Society’s Associate Schools and Colleges (https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/associate-schools/). The Royal Society also runs a unique pairing scheme (http://royalsociety.org/training/pairing-scheme/) in collaboration with the Government Office for Science, where scientists and MPs take turns to shadow each other to learn about research and policy making. The over-arching aim of the Royal Society Pairing Scheme is to build bridges between parliamentarians and some of the best scientists in the UK. The scheme provides scientists with a behind-the-scenes insight into how policy is formed and how research can be used to make evidence-based decisions. It also gives parliamentarians and civil servants the opportunity to investigate the science behind their decision-making processes and improves their access to scientific evidence. Around 30 researchers have the opportunity to take part in this amazing scheme each year.

Back in November, Rebecca spent a week shadowing Lilian Greenwood MP on her busy schedule, including observing Ms Greenwood give speeches and attend meetings, as well as having the opportunity to witness the reading of the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Autumn Statement in the Commons Chamber. More recently, this April, Lilian visited to the NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU in Ropewalk House, and the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre on University Park, where she met with scientists to learn about research taking place within the department.

On Friday 10th June, Central College, Nottingham hosted a visit to the School of Science. The afternoon started with a talk given to Level 3 Science students by Rebecca Dewey on the subject of medical imaging; “they had just been given an assignment in the subject of MRI, and so I was able to talk through their work from a new perspective.” Following this, Lilian met a group of Level 3 BTEC Applied Science students undertaking a practical physics lesson, before joining a group of mature Pre-Access to Nursing students in a supervision meeting with their Biology tutor. Finally, the visitors observed a group of students undertaking a practical Chemistry lesson. Lilian was highly enthused by watching the students completing their practical work, and enjoyed observing them show off their skills in the laboratory. Lillian commented on how highly motivated mature students are, saying how much she loved meeting them.

Rebecca says “I would thoroughly recommend the scheme to any research scientists at any stage of their career. My continuing relationship with the Royal Society gives me a real insight into the process behind science policy. It’s also a great way to demonstrate to members of parliament and civil servants how research really works.”

Further information about the Royal Society pairing scheme, as well as case studies, can be found at the following link: http://royalsociety.org/training/pairing-scheme/. You can also visit http://royalsociety.org, follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety


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