Jenny Willott MP participates in Royal Society pairing scheme

November 20, 2012 4:15 PM

Jenny Willott MP will be swapping legislation for a lab coat, when she visits Dr. Michelle Janas from GE Healthcare Life Sciences in Cardiff as part of a unique 'pairing' scheme run by the Royal Society - the UK national academy of science.

Dr. Michelle Janas recently visited Jenny at the House of Commons for the 'Week in Westminster' element of the pairing scheme.

Dr. Janas is a Lead Scientist at GE Healthcare's laboratories in Cardiff, Wales, where she is part of the team pioneering new technologies for cell therapy. During her visit, she shadowed Ms Willott MP to learn about her work. She also attended a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting and Prime Minister's Question Time, and met with Professor Sir John Beddington, Government Chief Scientific Advisor. The visit provided Dr. Janas with a behind-the-scenes insight into how science policy is formed as well as an understanding of the working life of an MP.

Dr. Janas said: "I believe scientists have a role to play in helping to make innovations like cell therapy a reality through engagement with politicians and policy makers. It is exciting to be sharing my scientific experience with Ms Willott MP and I'm keen to further my understanding of how science policy is developed and communicated to the wider community."

Jenny Willott MP said: "From participating in the scheme before, I know how rewarding and helpful it is to gain a different perspective. I look forward to learning about Dr. Janas' work on cell therapy at her lab in Cardiff. I hope I will get a better understanding of how politics and research together can realise the potential of these new technologies to bring real benefits to patients."

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society said: "We live in a world facing increasing challenges that can only be addressed with a clear understanding of science. From climate change to influenza outbreaks, GM food to nuclear power, our MPs have to make decisions about complex issues that will affect the lives of all those in the UK and, in many cases, more widely throughout the world. This means that MPs and scientists have a responsibility to engage with each other to get the best possible scientific advice into public policy making."

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