Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


Royal Society Policy Pairing Scheme

17 April 2023

A room full of academics listening to a speech

Congratulations to WEISS member Dr Richard Colchester, who was selected to participate in the Royal Society Policy Pairing Scheme in March. The scheme gives policymakers and research scientists an opportunity to experience each other’s worlds. This year’s event took place between 26 – 30 March. Over the week, Richard participated in workshops, heard from speakers and spent time with his pair. As part of the scheme, the paired MP, Peer or Civil Servant will then be invited to visit the scientist’s home institution and learn more about their work in person. Richard discusses his week-long experience below.

“This year, I was fortunate to be selected for the Royal Society Policy Pairing Scheme. This scheme runs annually and sees 30 academics from across the UK paired with 30 people working on policy, from politicians to civil servants. The week involves a broad range of activities, including shadowing, talks, a mock select committee and a tour of parliament.

The week started with dinner with the rest of the academics helping forge connections and future relationships. We were all from a broad range of disciplines and career stages. I was lucky enough to be paired with a member of the Government Office for Science, specifically in the Technology and Science Insights group. Their team and that of Emerging Technology (EmTech) spend their time exploring the UK position in Technology and Science and Horizon scanning for future technologies. They provide the government with tools and assessments to help them shape policy decisions and cement our place as a leader in science. The time spent shadowing was eye-opening and invigorating; kudos to my policy pair for organising some great meetings.

Outside of this time, there were talks from politicians, policy experts and other activities, which included a tour of the Palace of Westminster (definitely worth doing). The whole event was run fantastically by the Royal Society and was highly engaging. The discussions with both academics and policy pairs alike were fruitful and insightful and will hopefully lead to future collaborations. I highly recommend the scheme to anyone interested in applying in the future!”