From lab bench to backbench

House of Parliament viewed from the River Thames

A University of Strathclyde scientist will be swapping lab experiments for the legislative process when he visits the House of Commons in Westminster.

Dr Paul Hoskisson, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, is participating in a unique pairing scheme from 4-7 December run by the Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science, with support from the Government Science & Engineering (GSE) profession. 

Policy insight

During his visit Dr Hoskisson will shadow Javier Igartua, an economic adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to learn about his work. As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, he will also attend a mock Select Committee.

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

Dr Hoskisson said: “I think this is a really exciting opportunity for scientists to engage with policymakers and help understand how our research can be implemented for the benefit of society. 

I believe that the role of scientists is more important than it has ever been in society and this scheme will help me to understand how we, as scientists, can communicate better with stakeholders and help evidence-based decisions be translated in to practice.”

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.

Mr Igartua will get hands on experience of microbiology when he dons a lab coat to visit Dr Hoskisson at the University of Strathclyde next year.