Science, Research and Parliament – An academic’s guide to getting involved in Parliament

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As a new-ish member of the Research Planning Team at the University of Birmingham and from a background in scientific research I now regularly get asked the question ‘How do I get involved in parliament, and influence government policy? – Not a simple answer.  So to raise our team’s knowledge and to allow us to pull together advice for academics across the University we welcomed Kate Anderson and Dr Sarah Bunn from Parliamentary outreach and the Parliamentary Office of science and technology (POST) on the 28th June, to give us a whistle stop tour on SCIENCE, RESEARCH and PARLIAMENT.

‘How do I get involved in parliament, and influence government policy?

The session covered the main ways in which scientists can engage with Parliament; including contacting of local MPs, members of the House of Commons or Lords and All Party Parliamentary groups (APPGs).   We were also provided with a thorough insight into how you can contribute to committee inquiries and POSTnotes and of opportunities for POST Fellowships and attendance at Parliament events.  As a team involved in REF preparations at UoB it was also fascinating to hear about analysis carried out on REF2014 submissions, into how Parliament was engaged, with a special focus on Impact made by groups right here at Birmingham.

Top tips for engaging with Parliament;

  • Keep it short
  • Identify the problem
  • Explain why you care, and why they should care.
  • Let them know what you want them to do about it.

Top 5 ways to get involved;

  1. Contact your local MP
  2. Contact a member of the House of Lords who is interested in your field of research
  3. Contact a relevant All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)
  4. Submit evidence to a committee inquiry
  5. Submit evidence to The Parliamentary Office of Sciences and technology (POST)

Interested in learning more:

Joanne’s role is to promote the delivery of Impact from research taking place across the Colleges of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS), and Life and Environmental Sciences (LES).   Working with academics across the Colleges and with University-wide teams; including Business Engagement, RIS and Media Relations she works to both identify and maximise Impact opportunities.  She is responsible for raising awareness of Impact across the Colleges, and for the preparation of case studies for REF submission.  Joanne also provides support for Open Access and Open Data and in preparations for REF.

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