Return visit by local MP
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins visited the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews as part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.
Last year the University’s Dr Silvia Paracchini swapped lab bench for front bench when she spent a week shadowing Mr Gethins at Westminster.
Mr Gethins said: “It is always a pleasure to meet staff at the University and hear more about the important work they are doing, especially at the School of Medicine which is carrying out world-leading research into illnesses including dementia and diabetes.
“It was good to see Dr Silvia Paracchini, who shadowed me at Westminster, and have the chance to hear more about her work in neurogenetics and to meet her team, which comprises some of the most talented researchers from across the European Union.
“EU research funding is crucial to the University, attracting the best academics who are making progress in so many important areas of medicine. St Andrews is a great example of how international collaboration benefits us all and why it is so important that the mobility of people, including these academics, is protected.
“I was pleased to be able to take MEP Ian Hudghton along to meet Silvia and her colleagues. He was very impressed with their work and by the constructive discussion we had with senior staff on EU funding, as well as with members of the Young Academy of Scotland, and the benefits of greater engagement between academics, policy-makers and the public.”
Dr Paracchini said: “It has been a real pleasure to host Stephen for the reciprocal visit as part of the Royal Society Westminster Pairing Scheme. It has been great to discuss with Stephen about my own research as well as the project conducted through the Young Academy of Scotland.
“One goal of the scheme is to facilitate evidence-based policy making and it is essential to maintain effective communications between scientists and politicians. I strongly recommend my colleagues to take part in this scheme and proactively engage with policy-makers.
“One thing I learnt is that politicians are more accessible and more open to listen than what I previously thought.”
Picture caption: Dr Paracchini (front centre) and her team with Stephen Gethins (front left) and Ian Hudghton (front right)
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.