Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Functional materials in Parliament
On March the 15th 2017 Becky attended Voice of the Future 2017 at Portcullis House in Westminster. The event saw participants from a range of organisations invited to submit questions to a range of science Ministers and Government advisers about the future of science policy in the UK, and to hear their answers and thoughts on this important topic. Becky was there on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and had submitted questions ahead of time to be asked on the day.
First under the spotlight was the Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy Secretary Chi Onwurah. Of the questions asked, her stance on the lack of taboo which makes it acceptable to be bad at maths was particularly interesting, although the question of how to solve this issue, particularly amongst school-age girls, was left open.
Next was Sir Mark Walport, chief scientific adviser to the Government, closely followed by Jo Johnson, Minister who gave the party line on the likely effects of the UK’s exit from the EU. He gave a very interesting account of the party line, with an overall positive outlook, even with the uncertain times faced by scientists and the UK in general.
Finally, questions were put to four members of the Science and Technology Select Committee. This was particularly interesting as these are the MPs who write reports to directly advise the Government in their decision-making.
Overall, the day was a fascinating insight into the inner workings of science policy in the UK, and a great opportunity to visit the House of Commons, even if, having seen the questions ahead of time, the answers sometimes felt a little prepared. More information about the event can be found here and a recording of the afternoon can be found on the Commons website.