Parliamentary pairing scheme strengthens relationship between BEI and politicians

Liz Saville Roberts MP and Dr Gavin Harper. Photo Credit the Royal Society.
Liz Saville Roberts MP with Dr Gavin Harper. Photo Credit the Royal Society

Birmingham Energy Institute Research Fellow, Dr Gavin Harper swapped his lab bench for the green benches when he joined Liz Saville Roberts MP in parliament this week.

Liz Saville Roberts MP met with Dr Gavin Harper from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Strategic Elements & Critical Materials 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.

The scheme pairs scientists with parliamentarians so that they can learn about each other’s work and explore how research findings can inform policy making.

During the week, Gavin spent time with Liz 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 Liz the opportunity to learn more about Gavin’s work.

Liz Saville Roberts MP said, ‘In Parliament I need to make decisions on complex topics. Building links with the UK’s top scientists helps me access scientific advice so that I can make informed decisions based on the best evidence available. Meeting expert scientists like Gavin is a great reminder that the UK is a world-leader in science. We should use the expertise of our brightest scientists to provide evidence for policy making.’

‘It was great to spend time with Gavin and learn about some of the challenges around the critical materials that will be needed to power our future energy systems. I’m looking forward to getting hands on experience of how Gavin works as I hope to reciprocate the pairing scheme when I visit him in the lab at the Birmingham Energy Institute in the near future.’

Dr Gavin Harper said, ‘The time spent with Liz and the Plaid Cymru team gave me a fascinating insight into how policy is made and how science informs decision making. It was a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse into the everyday life of a politician and party whose work I greatly admire.’

‘It was great to discuss with Liz our work on securing strategic elements and critical materials for the UK and discuss the role that Wales might play in securing technology metals for a clean energy future.’