Dr James Cronin, a scientist from Swansea University, swapped his lab bench for the green benches when he joined Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West, in parliament this week.
Geraint Davies met with Dr James Cronin from Swansea University as part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society—the UK’s national academy of science, with support from the Government Office of Science. Dr Cronin shadowed Mr Davies this week in Westminster to get a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how their research can be used to make evidence-based decisions. The visit also gave Mr Davies the opportunity to learn more about Dr Cronin’s research.
The scheme pairs scientists with parliamentarians and civil servants so that they can learn about each other’s work and explore how research findings can inform policy making.
Geraint Davies said:
“As chair of the All Party Group on Air Pollution, I have regular contact with scientific experts from Swansea university and elsewhere who have provided crucial data on the significant number of people who are affected by pollution and the damage it can cause to their health.
“From providing information and data on train infrastructure, to plastic and air pollution, academics are invaluable to the work I do in parliament.
“Too often valuable research is not properly applied in policy and so it’s fantastic that The Royal Society pairing scheme encourages scientists and parliamentarians to work together, and it was great to meet Dr Cronin and learn about his research on cancer, immunology, cell signalling and more and I look forward to working with him to better support and represent the people in Swansea West.”
“And I’m also looking forward to getting hands on experience of how Dr Cronin works when I visit him in the lab at Swansea University later this year. The university provides first rate courses and facilities and is a beacon of excellence in our constituency.”
Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said, “It is crucial that we invest in the relationship between scientists and politicians, so that either profession can articulate and appreciate the pressures confronted by both. The Royal Society Pairing Scheme does just this, endowing scientists with a fascinating insight into parliament, and connecting policymakers with the best innovative thinking in the world, and in the process, enabling both to draw from and engage with the mutual expertise needed to address the challenges of our time.”