Prof Tony Watts swaps the lab bench for the back bench
Tony Watts has been paired with Ms Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abindgon, for the 17th Royal Society scientists' pairing scheme. This innovative scheme pairs scientists with parliamentarians and civil servants so that they can learn about each other's worlds and explore how research can inform policy making.
Prof Tony Watts and MP Layla Moran
Tony will spend a week in Westminister shadowing Ms Moran, attend seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, and take part in a mock Select Committee. The scheme also provides scientists with a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how they can share their expertise with policy makers. It will offer parliamentarians and civil servants the opportunity to investigate the science behind their decisions and enhance their access to scientific evidence. After the 'Week in Westminster', it will be the turn of Ms Moran to get an insight into the world of research, undertaking a reciprocal visit in Tony's laboratory.
Parliamentarians participating this year include Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee Norman Lamb and Health Minister Lord O'Shaughnessy. Ms Layla Moran (@LaylaMoran) is a physics graduate from Imperial College, London, lives in Oxford and is the spokesperson for Education, Science & Young People. She has been very active in debates on science and education since joining Parliament last June.
Tony will begin the week with a reception in parliament where Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy Chi Onwurah and Commons speaker John Bercow will explain why policy makers and researchers must work together to ensure the UK's excellent science is used to improve people's lives and tackle global challenges.