“Scientific evidence underpins many key policies, from climate change to food security, from energy production to economic growth via high tech industries, from infectious diseases to electronic communications. Parliament plays a crucial role in scrutinising policy and legislation, and in raising awareness of important issues.” – Lord Krebs, Chairman of the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee.
Whether through Parliamentary debates or by the inquiries carried out by many committees in the House of Commons or House of Lords, science issues are regularly at the forefront of Parliamentary business.
Parliament has a wealth of scientific expertise and its scrutiny of science issues can have a wide ranging impact on public policy. For example, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on Allergy led the Department of Health to establish a lead Health Authority for allergy services while their report on Science and Heritage encouraged the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to appoint a Chief Scientific Advisor.
For more than 20 years, Parliament has been assisted in this work by its own in-house ’horizon-scanning’ and analysis service provided by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).
On 15th March Parliament is giving members of the public the chance to quiz Parliamentary experts about how MPs and Peers examine and discuss science and technology issues.
‘Parliament Talks…Science‘ is hosted by the Houses of Parliament Outreach Service at the University of Leeds as part of the Leeds Festival of Science. Specialist speakers including Lord Willis, Chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee, and Lord Oxburgh, eminent geologist and geophysicist, and Board Member of POST will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on how to make your voice heard on science issues.
The ‘Parliament Talks…Science’ event also features short talks from science experts and a debate on Parliament’s effectiveness in tackling science issues. Dr Tom Crick and Dr Simon Gosling, who have both taken part in the Royal Society MP pairing scheme, will join the panel to talk about their engagement with Parliament and science.
Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee, said:
“Parliament Talks…Science is an excellent opportunity for the public to learn about how Parliament engages with science and how they can connect with the House of Commons and House of Lords on scientific issues.“
If you cannot make it along to the ‘Parliament Talks…Science’ event, further information will be available on the Parliament website summarising Parliament’s scientific-related activities and explaining how people can involved.
Professor David Cope, Director, POST.