Royal Society Pairing Scheme MP visit
11 June 2019
Kevin Brennan MP experienced a day in the life of a Cardiff University researcher, as part of the Royal Society’s pairing scheme for scientists and MPs.
On Friday 3 May, Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, spent the day with Dr Emma Yhnell and her research colleagues at the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI) and Cardiff University Brain Imaging Centre (CUBRIC). This was a reciprocal visit arranged through the Royal Society Pairing Scheme which aims to build links between parliamentarians and some of the top scientists working in the UK. The scheme provides an opportunity for policymakers and researchers to learn about each other’s responsibilities, establishing a knowledge transfer opportunity, creating cohesion between the worlds of politics, policy and science.
On the day, Kevin met with Emma and discussed her Huntington’s disease research in detail, as well as being invited on an exclusive tour of research facilities. The day included a tour of the NMHRI lab at Hadyn Ellis Building with lab manager Emma Dalton and an opportunity to see some cell cultures with PhD student Bret Saunders. Following the lab tour, Emma introduced Brennan to her colleague Mark Postans at CUBRIC a world leading brain imaging centre, where he experienced an MRI scan. Following the tour of facilities, Emma offered Kevin an opportunity to try out some of the cognitive tests she does as part of her research.
Quote kevin “It was a great pleasure to host Emma in the House of Commons and to see her research at Cardiff University. She is a great science communicator and I learned a lot to help me as a policy maker.”
The visit followed Emma spending a week in Westminster in November of last year shadowing Kevin.
Emma said “It was an honour to take part in the Royal Society Pairing Scheme, I would highly recommend this opportunity to others. My week in Westminster increased my appreciation and understanding of the contribution that scientists can make to policymaking. I'm really grateful to the Royal Society for creating this opportunity. I hope that Kevin's reciprocal visit provided a good insight into the world leading research place at Cardiff University and particularly in the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute. The scheme also helped me to highlight the importance of science communication and new ways in which science and policy can interact.”