MP shadows scientist
Press release issued: 14 January 2005
Dr Nick Walker from Bristol University's School of Chemistry was chosen by the Royal Society to participate in their MP-Scientist pairing scheme. Dr Walker was matched with Valerie Davey, MP for Bristol West. As part of the scheme he had to 'shadow' Valerie for four days in the House of Commons during early November, as well as spend time with her in her constituency.
Dr Nick Walker from Bristol University’s School of Chemistry was chosen by the Royal Society to participate in their MP–Scientist pairing scheme.
Dr Walker was matched with Valerie Davey, MP for Bristol West. As part of the scheme he had to ‘shadow’ Valerie for four days in the House of Commons during early November, as well as spend time with her in her constituency.
A reciprocal visit, when Valerie will shadow Nick in the School of Chemistry, has been scheduled for Friday 14 January.
There she will hear how important chemistry is in our every day life and learn about some of the exciting research going on in the department, such as trying to better understand how antibiotics work. She will also have the opportunity to talk to students and hear why they have chosen to study chemistry. The School of Chemistry is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and an internationally recognised centre of excellence.
Dr Walker said: “This has been the most fantastic opportunity to understand the pressures under which MPs operate. For example, while we were having lunch one day it was interrupted no fewer than three times as Valerie was called to vote on things. It has also helped me to better understand the parliamentary process and the methods by which we can advise MPs on scientific issues.”
Established by the Royal Society in 2001, the MP-Scientist Pairing Scheme aims to build bridges between some of the best scientists in the country and members of parliament. The scheme comprises three activities: a briefing by the Royal Society, a Week in Westminster, and reciprocal visits to the constituency office and the laboratory.
One of the aims of the scheme is to give MPs the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the processes of scientific understanding and topical research, enabling them to be better informed when making decisions.
While on the scheme Nick was asked by the Royal Society to keep a diary of his adventures. Extracts from this can be found at: www.bristol.ac.uk/university/publications/research/issue-8/westminster.pdf