On Wednesday 19 March 2014, young scientific researchers and select politicians gathered at the Houses of Parliament to discuss the current role of science in the UK, for the third instalment of ‘Voice of the Future’, organised by the Society of Biology. The Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Mark Walport, took the first session of questions, sharing some of the experiences of his recent career. Next, members of parliament on the Science and Technology Select Committee from the three main political parties were given the opportunity to offer personal opinions of a range of current scientific topics. The final two sessions of questions were fielded by the Shadow Minister and the Minister for Universities and Science, Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP and Rt Hon David Willetts MP respectively.
Overall, the session was a very rewarding one – as an early career researcher, attending the event offered a new perspective on scientific research that one rarely gets to see in the course of a day-to-day job. In addition, it allowed attendees to hear a range of political perspectives on scientific research and development, and offered potential pathways for researchers to become more involved and engaged in this process.
Review by Dan Green.