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29 October 2012 | PR 12/184

A week in Westminster for Loughborough academic

Westminster - Big Ben

Loughborough University’s Dr Elaine Yolande Gosling has been selected by the Royal Society as one of the UK’s leading scientists to participate in its Pairing Scheme 2012.

She will be swapping her desk at the Loughborough Design School for the historic corridors of Westminster, when she visits Nicky Morgan MP at the House of Commons for a ‘Week in Westminster’.   Starting today (Monday 29 October), the experience is part of a unique ‘pairing’ scheme run by the Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science.

During her visit Dr Gosling will shadow her MP pair and learn about her work, as well as attending a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting and Prime Minister’s Question Time, and meeting Professor Sir John Beddington, Government Chief Scientific Advisor.  The visit will provide Dr Gosling 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 Gosling, part of the Design Ergonomics Research Group, has specific interests in how people use and interact with the design of the world around them. She has concentrated much of her research in the fields of inclusive design, user-centred design and user-product interaction.  She is keen to see how her research can be applied to policy making at national Government level.

Dr Gosling is involved in several research projects. On the multi-disciplinary New Dynamics of Ageing ‘Working Late: ageing productively through design’ she has worked closely with industry to co-design the Organiser for Working Late (OWL).  This considers the effects of the design of work environments and equipment on workers.  OWL aims to facilitate design decision making and encourage healthy ageing at work, as well as promoting and developing ergonomic design solutions for all workers.

Dr Gosling is also involved in the ‘Reinvent the Toilet’ project, which aims to address the needs of all people – almost a third of the world’s population –  who do not have safe, hygienic and affordable sanitation.  The multi-disciplinary Loughborough University team was recently awarded second place by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for their work.

Dr Gosling said: “I am delighted to have been selected for the Royal Society Pairing Scheme and looking forward to my Week in Westminster with Nicky Morgan MP. I believe that university research should benefit society as a whole and one way of achieving this is by using high quality research to inform policy-making decisions. The Pairing Scheme offers me a fantastic opportunity to explore how this can be done first hand and how best I can communicate my research to policy-makers at the highest level.”

Nicky Morgan MP added: “I am very fortunate to be joined for the week by Dr Gosling from the world-leading Loughborough University, which has a fantastic reputation for research and links with industry.  It is clear that science and innovation are going to drive economic growth in the coming years, so it is important that we bring individuals from the world of science closer to the work of Government.  This pairing scheme will help to achieve just that.”

The Royal Society’s MP-Scientist pairing scheme aims to build bridges between parliamentarians and some of the best scientists in the UK.  It is an opportunity for MPs to become better informed about science issues and for scientists to understand how they can influence science policy.  Over 200 pairs of scientists and MPs have taken part in the scheme since it was launched in 2001.

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.

“We set up the Royal Society’s MP Scientist pairing scheme in 2001 to provide the opportunity for MPs and scientists to build long-term relationships with each other and have now organised over two hundred pairings.  I know many parliamentarians and scientists who have gained from the scheme, and the shaping of public policy can only improve over time as these relationships continue to grow.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Judy Wing
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.L.Wing@lboro.ac.uk 

Alice Henchley or Bill Hartnett
The Royal Society
Press and Public Relations
T: 020 7451 2514/2516

Notes for editors:

  1. The Royal Society is the UK’s national academy of science.  Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. Our expertise is embodied in the Fellowship, which is made up of the finest scientists from the UK and beyond.  Our goals are to:
    - Invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation
    - Influence policymaking with the best scientific advice
    - Invigorate science and mathematics education
    - Increase access to the best science internationally
    - Inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery

  2. For further information please visit http://royalsociety.org. Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety .

  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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