21st October 2021

Taunton scientist selected to question MPs about science policy

Harriet Gliddon, 27, a PhD student at Imperial College London, will visit the House of Commons to question MPs and ministers about science policy tomorrow (Tuesday).

Harriet Gliddon, who hails from Taunton, has been chosen to attend Voice of the Future, an event organised by the Royal Society of Biology.

Harriet Gliddon was chosen to represent the Royal Society of Biology on the strength of her question: ‘How do you plan to ensure that the Government implements evidence-based policies as far as is possible in the future?’

Dr Stephen Benn, the Royal Society of Biology’s director of parliamentary affairs, describes the importance of Voice of the Future:

“This is a unique event – in no other part of Parliament is the normal select committee format completely reversed so that MPs, the Minister and the Shadow Minister have to answer questions rather than ask them.

It is important that policy makers use reliable evidence in their decisions, and today’s young scientists and engineers will be a vital part of this in the future.”

In the first event of its kind since the General Election, young scientists and engineers will question the Science and Universities Minister, the Shadow Science Minister, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee about scientific issues that matter to them.

Harriet Gliddon pic 2Harriet says:

“This is a rare and exciting opportunity to question the MPs of the Science and Technology Select Committee. Science, technology and engineering make huge contributions to the UK’s economy. However, only 4% of MPs have studied science at degree level, and in the 2015 election we lost our only MP who had practised as a scientist. It is therefore essential that we improve understanding and communication between scientists and parliamentarians.”

Voice of the Future 2016 will be broadcast live on Parliament TV and is being held in the Boothroyd Room, a room which has heard Prime Ministers as well as eminent scientists and experts give evidence. However, this time the MPs’ committee seats will be occupied by young people and the MPs will sit in the witness seats ready to be grilled.