Cambridge scientist Dr Marta Costa has swapped the lab-bench for the famous green benches of the Commons to take part in a unique scheme where MPs are paired up with leading scientists for a week at both their respective places of work.
Dr Costa is paired with Daniel Zeichner MP and is spending a week in the Houses of Parliament, to learn how science policy is formed as well as gaining an understanding of the working life of an MP.
Mr Zeichner will then spend time with Dr Costa in the Department of Genetics to gain a better understanding of how research funding is spent, how research is prioritised and what a typical day is like for a research scientist.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “As MP for Cambridge I want to ensure I’m up to speed with the challenges affecting the scientific community. This is a great way to find out more about science and research taking place across Cambridge and the UK and how it can influence the policy decisions we take as MPs.”
The Royal Society pairing scheme is in its 15th year and more than 300 pairs of MPs, and scientists have been partnered up since the scheme was launched.
Dr Julie Maxton, Executive Director of the Royal Society said: “Scientists and policy makers have a responsibility to engage with each other to get the best possible scientific advice into public policy making. The Royal Society’s pairing scheme, now in its 15th year, provides an opportunity for MPs and scientists to build long term relationships to make the best evidence and scientific advice increasingly accessible. The shaping of public policy can only improve over time as these relationships continue to grow.”