Every year scientists and policymakers pair up and shadow each other as part of the Royal Society’s Pairing Scheme. Two MRC researchers have recently completed a ‘Week in Westminster’. Here Dr Angela Attwood, a research fellow at the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, found that it’s the librarians, clerks and advisors who are the key contacts in Westminster. In a separate post, Dr Helen Chappell finds that Parliament is crying out for research findings.
In recent years, the UK government has been strongly advocating evidence-based policy making informed by cutting edge scientific research.
As a psychologist, I can identify how my findings may inform policy, but identifying ways to get my findings to policy-makers is much more challenging. This was one of the main reasons why I chose to take part in the pairing scheme.
Every scientist who takes part in the scheme is paired with an MP or civil servant, and half of the week spent in Westminster allows time for shadowing. I was paired with liberal democrat MP Stephen Williams, who is also the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and a fellow (adopted) Bristolian. Read more