(l-r: Joan Ruddock MP and Dr Alice Jones)
Joan Ruddock, who has been the Labour MP for Lewisham, Deptford since 1987, and is an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths, is pairing up with Dr Alice Jones, from the Department of Psychology.
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 180 pairs of scientists and MPs have taken part in the scheme since it launched in 2001.
In order to see life from a politician's perspective, Alice and other scientists on the scheme spent time at the Houses of Parliament for 'Westminster Week'. During the busy week she learned how Parliament and government engages with scientists to inform policy, and said there was a lot of "active discussion" with the politicians and civil servants about research and funding.
The time gave Alice a real insight into how science policy is formed as well as an understanding of the working life of an MP. She said: "I finished the week feeling inspired and fired up, and full of admiration for the scientists, MPs and civil servants that I had spent time with. It is reassuring to discover that many MPs are actively interested in science and research, and that they are willing and able to enter into dialogue with scientists."
Alice is currently organising Joan Ruddock's return visit to Goldsmiths. As well as seeing behind the scenes at the College, The MP will visit some of the schools Alice works with in the local area. Alice is currently researching bullying, and has been working with nearby primary schools to investigate how children who are involved in these sorts of behaviours understand other people's thoughts and feelings.
You can read Alice's thoughts about her time in Westminster at: www.gold.ac.uk/news/homepage-news/alicejones.