Links strengthened at annual Parliamentary meet
Parliamentary Links Day, once of the biggest events in the Society's calendar, was again a huge success. Around 150 MPs and members of the scientific community convened in the House of Commons to discuss science and public trust, the theme of this year's Links Day.
The speaker of the House, John Bercow, introduced the event with a poignant dedication to the incredible work and scientific interest of Tony Benn. Speakers from across the scientific spectrum included Andrew Miller MP (chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee) and Sir Paul Nurse of the Royal Society.
The Society organises Links Day on behalf of the science and engineering community in order to enhance their relationship with parliament and MPs. This year the speakers explored the importance of effectively engaging UK citizens with science and policy.
Panellists and speakers included Mark Henderson (Wellcome Trust), Fiona Fox (director, Science Media Centre), Pallab Ghosh (BBC Science Correspondent), Sarah Main (director, Campaign for Science and Engineering) and MP Stephen Metcalf (Science and Technology Committee). During the two debates panellists discussed the need for stronger engagement with the public on scientific issues, and stressed the value of a strong connection between parliament and the sciences during policy making.
In his key note address Sir Mark Walport, the Government's chief scientific adviser, discussed the planned development of a 'fast stream' specifically aimed at science and engineering civil servants, which could to bridge the gap for the scientists of the future. He encouraged the room to engage with policy at local and national levels to continue integrating science effectively.
Sir Paul Nurse's closing talk looked at the immediate need to communicate reliable and digestible knowledge about the natural world in order to maintain a general trust in both science and scientists.
The debate, both at the event and across Twitter, addressed topics such as the lack of funding organisations for post-graduate training, how to increase productivity, global collaborations, inspiring young minds and, most importantly, constantly and consistently engaging with the public. The Society would like to thank everyone who contributed to the event.
A selection of Twitter activity from the event is available on our Storify.