Applied Microbiology International (AMI) member Shamik Roy was among a group of young scientists and engineers who quizzed government representatives at the Voice of the Future event this week.


Shamik Roy

The science-tinged event in the Boothroyd Room at Portcullis House on Monday March 13 turned the tables on the usual select committee format, with young representatives from a variety of UK science organisations questioning ministers, MPs and scientific advisors.

Representing AMI was Shamik Roy, from the University of East Anglia, who asked: “How can we ensure that the UK’s current research and innovation is being successfully implemented into real-world solutions, and how should the Government ensure this is being implemented into policy changes?”

His question was answered by Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Advisor for Defra, who highlighted the roles of himself and his colleagues.

“The fact that there is a network of chief scientific advisors and a civil service that has scientists in many jobs throughout it enables us to gather research and innovation knowledge and feed it into policy-making more effectively,” he responded

Strengthening policy 

“What I think we could actually strengthen further is that there aren’t as many scientists and active researchers in many Government departments as I believe there should be.

“So increasing the range of capabilities in Government departments and civil service populations would be welcome, because we need to recognise that that particular skill set of translating research into policy is a skill in its own right and one that you learn on the job.

“If you bring in a researcher from elsewhere they wouldn’t necessarily have those skills to start with, so having those embedded scientists and broader researchers is really important.”


Professor Gideon Henderson

Professor Henderson also commented on the diversity of research organisations in the UK as beneficial in this area. 

“That we have lots of different voices speaking to Government about how universities see the problem, or how independent researchers see it, or how industrial sectors see it, or how financiers see it, or how NGOS see it, is very helpful in making sure that policy follows some of the latest thinking,” he added. 

Watch the full stream HERE - Shamik Roy’s question is at 17:40:33.