Dr Gesche Huebner spends a week in Westminster with Royal Society pairing scheme
27 May 2022
UCL Energy Institute Senior Research Associate Dr Gesche Huebner took part in the programme this year and was paired up with two civil servants from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The annual Royal Society Pairing Scheme sees 30 academics working in STEM paired with UK parliamentarians and civil servants to help strengthen connections between academia and policy and share insights into how research can inform policy making.
Participating academics spend two days in workshops on policy impact and science communication – including a tour and a reception in the Houses of Parliament, and a mock Select Committee. They then spend two days following their pair in their day-to-day routine and later in the year invite them to their host institution.
Gesche was paired with civil servants working in BEIS’ Clean Heat Directorate, specifically with Policy Adviser Katherine Holland and Senior Policy Advisor Rachel Fowden-Hulme. They spent a day at UCL Energy Institute in return, meeting staff and PhD students who work within the Energy and Buildings research theme, and sharing insights into the reality of policy making processes.
Gesche summed up the experience:
“The scheme was a fantastic opportunity to really see more of the inside of the civil service - how information flows within and across departments, what working hours are like, how the overall policy situation impacts on work, and how research is used as part of the policy process – and I also got to see the huge cafeteria in the basement of BEIS!”