Dr Seyi Soremekun has been awarded a sought-after place on the Royal Society’s MP Pairing Scheme. The Scheme builds connections between parliamentarians, civil servants and research scientists, and Dr Soremekun has been partnered with Steve Pound, the Member for Parliament for Ealing North.
This year’s scheme is running from September 2014 to January 2015. Participating research scientists will be spending four days in Westminster as well as attending seminars and Select Committee meetings. The ‘behind the scenes’ Westminster visit will focus on the science policy process and the working life of an MP. The programme will also include special sessions with top government advisors, including Sir Mark Walport and Professor Virginia Murray.
There is also a programme of reciprocal visits: Steve Pound will come to Keppel Street to learn more about Dr Soremekun’s research and the wider work of the School, and she will attend his constituency surgery in Ealing.
Commenting on her expectations for participation in the Scheme, Dr Soremekun said: “I was delighted to be offered a place on the scheme this year. I’m hoping to use this opportunity to better understand and discuss the processes – and barriers – involved in successfully engaging policy makers to promote public health strategies that are known to work. I’m also very much looking forward to finding out more about local and national activities aimed at inspiring school children in science, technology, engineering, and maths, which ties in well with my involvement in the School’s Young Scientists Programme.”
She will be blogging about her experiences over the coming weeks, and these accounts will be cross-posted via the Chariot blog.
Dr Soremekun is the second member of School staff to be paired with a Member of Parliament through the Scheme. Theresa Ward, Lecturer of Cell Biology, was previously paired with Rt Hon Frank Dobson MP.
Theresa said: “I took part in this scheme in 2006, and found that it offered a fascinating insight into the machinations of parliament and policy-making. There is a need for researchers and policy makers to work together and to have the opportunity to bridge the jargon gap, and I feel that this scheme offers significant benefits to both sides. I wish Seyi all the best for her collaboration, and would encourage other colleagues to apply.”
Featured image: Westminster sunset. Credit: [Duncan]/Flickr. Second image: Seyi Soremekun