Chiswick Scientist To Pose Questions In House of Commons

To see how politicians can better engage with research scientists


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Chiswick scientist Alison Cryan, aged 23,has been chosen to question MPs and Ministers in the House of Commons tomorrow (March 4th) about science policy. In a reverse of normal select committee format, MPs, the Minister and the Shadow Minister have to answer questions rather than ask them.

Alison, a graduate from the University of Sheffield, will attend Voice of the Future, an event organised by the Society of Biology. Alison grew up in Chiswick and has moved back recently after graduating in 2014 with a Biology and French degree.

Chiswick Scientist To Pose Questions In House of Commons

She is currently an Intern in the Education Department at the Society of Biology, but has done a lot of public engagement work (including science festivals in the UK and abroad) as well as event delivery and outreach in schools.

Alison was chosen to represent the Society of Biology on the strength of her question: What do politicians need more of to become more engaged with researchers and the scientific process?

Dr Stephen Benn, the Society of Biology’s director of parliamentary affairs, describes the importance of Voice of the Future: “This is a unique event – in no other part of Parliament is the normal select committee format completely reversed so that MPs, the Minister and the Shadow Minister have to answer questions rather than ask them.

“It is important that policy makers use reliable evidence in their decisions, and today’s young scientists and engineers will be a vital part of this in the future. This year’s event is particularly timely due to the approaching General Election.”

Young scientists and engineers will question the Science Minister, the Shadow Science Minister, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee about scientific issues that matter to them.

Alison says: “It is incredibly important for everyone in UK Government to understand the scientific process behind important decisions that affect us all. Young people have a rare opportunity to discuss pressing issues with Government representatives at Voice of the Future 2015 and I am really looking forward to being involved.”

On her current role she said: “I am very interested in the role that formal education has to play in public awareness and perception of science - particularly when it comes to young people”.

Voice of the Future 2015 is being held in the Boothroyd Room, a room which has heard Prime Ministers as well as eminent scientists and experts give evidence. However, this time the MPs’ committee seats will be occupied by young people and the MPs will sit in the witness seats ready to be grilled.

The event will be broadcast on Parliament TV.

March 3, 2015

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