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Cardiff University scientist visits politicians in Westminster

29 November 2018

Emma Yhnell
Dr Emma Yhnell

Dr Emma Yhnell from the Cardiff University will be swapping a lab coat for legislation when she visits Kevin Brennan MP at the House of Commons 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 her visit Emma will shadow Kevin and learn about his work. As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, Emma will also attend a mock Select Committee as well as Prime Ministers Questions.

The visit will provide Emma with a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how her research can be used to make evidence based decisions. It will also give Kevin the opportunity to investigate the science behind his decisions and improve their access to scientific evidence.

Emma said ‘I am delighted to be taking part in the Royal Society Pairing Scheme. It will provide an important and valuable opportunity to highlight important scientific issues in the political arena. Key areas that I want to discuss include; how new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases are approved for treatment, lack of job stability within academic research and issues related to the funding of research, engagement, innovation and education.

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.

Kevin Brennan MP will get hands on experience of Emma’s scientific research and outreach and engagement activities when he dons a lab coat to visit Emma at The Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI) in Cardiff University next year.

The Royal Society pairing scheme is in its 18th year. By the end of this year’s scheme, 456 Scientists will have taken part, shadowing a mixture of MPs, Peers, Civil Servants and Select Committee Staff. That is enough Scientists to fill the Green benches in the House of Commons, and still leave 28 standing. Previous politicians who have participated include Michael Gove, Defra Secretary, Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister, Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Caroline Lucas, Co-leader of the Green Party. You can find a list of past participants here.

For further information about the Royal Society pairing scheme.

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