Get connected, stay connected

So after a couple months of experiencing the life of being a science policy advisor at the Royal Society, on my RCUK policy internship, I thought it was time to update you on what I’ve thinking about as I come to the end of my internship.

Getting the right people involved…

An essential start to policy advice is to gain a grounding in the areas you are working in, without this, advice would be uninformed, unrepresentative and simply wasting time. So in huge areas such as climate science, the environment and energy, how do you find the right research, how do you find the right people to talk to?

Imagine a stadium full of people at the start of a football match. You need to walk in and find out who is thinking what. Where do you start?

Literature streams

If every one of those people is a research article, it will be impossible to look at all of them. Start with groups and target particular areas that may be relevant, beginning with more general reading but deepen as time allows. None of this should be new to anybody, but it is important to realise that there will be literature you will not be able to find, those people not on the stands in the stadium, but in the tunnels surrounding it. For this reason, and that peoples’ views and research perspectives change with time, like a crowd throughout the game, it is worth following literature streams as much as possible.


Consultations can take a variety of forms (email, online survey, postal, formal interview, informal meeting), and the form needs to match the type or group of people you are trying to consult. Don’t try to consult rural areas if rural broadband is problematic for example. But consultations can be so useful for getting current information on research areas and other pieces of work that might be on-going or planned for the future. Often, many of us can be guilty of staying within our known networks, contacts and work areas, but by consulting widely and being aware of those silos is important to get a better understanding of how interconnected problems fit together.

Image credit: Wikimania2009 Beatrice Murch [CC BY 2.0 ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons



Amongst all of this, it is always worth taking time out of intense research to think about trends. The timing of policy advice is essential and trends make up a significant part of seeing where opportunities are. It is almost impossible to gain all information one needs from quantitative consultations.

Invaluable information can be gained from formal and informal interviews, good relationship building with the right mix of people, and an open and aware mindset.

It is interesting that often having the ‘right connections’ is seen as an unscientific, unrepresentative and privileged stance. Yet it may be that we sometimes forget how important maintaining and building relationships are in postgraduate research. Post PhD, maintaining good relationships and building positive working environments are key factors for developing your own research projects, or for the wider work place in any and every field. So… take some time to think about who you are talking to, and who you should perhaps talk with next to develop ideas or make new links.

During the last month or so I have been exposed to many of these challenges at the Royal Society. I have found It surprising how many links there are to my own world under the canopy of a PhD and I am looking forward to taking some of those thoughts back with me. Tell you more next time…

(Views in this blog post are my own and do not represent those of the Royal Society.)

This blog is by Cabot Institute member Henry Webber, PhD student in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, studying the interactions between precision agriculture and archaeology.

Other blogs in this series:

From the depths of a PhD to the heights of the Royal Society: my first month…

The Royal Society

Back in autumn 2015 I applied for an RCUK Policy Internship. At first I was hesitant. Would it mean time lost in data collection for my PhD? Would I fall behind? And would it actually be useful for me beyond the PhD?

Well, the internship is only three months long, and due to it being RCUK-funded I get an extra three months added onto my PhD deadline. So no time lost!  Another thing that swayed me was the opportunity to broaden my horizons and gain lots of skills that I wouldn’t  have had the opportunity to gain while slogging away at the PhD.

Coming from an AHRC-funded PhD, I had the choice of internships with a whole host of organisations including the British Museum, British Library, the Society of Biology, Government Office for Science (GO-Science) and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). With my interests in archaeology (geophysics, soil science, geochemistry), agriculture, new technologies, the environment, and the role of strong independent science advice, I decided to go for the Royal Society, the UK’s national science academy.

At the beginning of March 2016 I arrived at Carlton House Terrace, London, to dig deeper into what strong science policy advice actually is, and how the Royal Society’s Science Policy Centre provides it.

What I’ve learnt

Science policy advice is about communicating new and existing science to decision makers. Decision makers often lack technical expertise or awareness in some of the areas they cover, thus it’s crucial that they can access good advice from the people closer to the research. Decision making and policy advice also both have a crucial time component which can make or break whether advice is well received and useful, or wasted and forgotten. The challenge is to provide excellent and authoritative advice in a flexible and timely manner amongst an ocean of other competing priorities and other advisors trying to do the same thing.

The Royal Society’s Science Policy Centre is a key player in providing strong independent advice, drawn from experts in all areas of science. Experts come from not only the 1645 Fellows and Foreign members of the Society, but also from all relevant fields of research in academia and industry.

In my first month here I’ve experienced a fast-paced and engaging workplace, with a mix of great people  from a whole variety of different backgrounds. Unlike the PhD, work here has to cover huge topic areas such as energy, environment and climate change. These topics are immensely unwieldy but it’s essential that you  can get up to speed on current and future issues as well as the past dynamics of these topic areas to be able to understand the science and policy demands.

The other interesting side to this work is understanding the wider landscape of these topic areas. It’s not just about considering how academic research can be communicated to decision makers, but also how research feeds into a much wider process that policy needs to cover. How will decisions made affect the private sectors? How do policies impact people and the environment through space and time? Crucially how ‘successful’ are policies and what will policies of the future look like?

Stay tuned

It is an exciting time and so far shaping up to be a great experience! I will be writing a post for each month spent at the Society so look forward to more on horizon scanning techniques, prioritisation, and values within science!

(Views in this blog post are my own and do not represent those of the Royal Society.)

This blog is by Cabot Institute member Henry Webber, from the School of Arts at the University of Bristol.  His research focusses on the integration of archaeology and precision farming.

COP21 daily report: While the politicians negotiate, the science does not stop

Cabot Institute Director Professor Rich Pancost will be attending COP21 in Paris as part of the Bristol city-wide team, including the Mayor of Bristol, representatives from Bristol City Council and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. He and other Cabot Institute members will be writing blogs during COP21, reflecting on what is happening in Paris, especially in the Paris and Bristol co-hosted Cities and Regions Pavilion, and also on the conclusion to Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital.  Follow #UoBGreen and #COP21 for live updates from the University of Bristol.  All blogs in the series are linked to at the bottom of this blog.


I am on the train from Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington and then on to Paris. It seems appropriate leaving from a station that was built by Brunel, a symbol of the industrial revolution but also innovation. Tomorrow, I will be joining George Ferguson, Stephen Hilton of Bristol City Council, Amy Robinson of Low Carbon Southwest and others at the Sustainable Innovation Forum. I appreciate that addressing climate change means changing some aspects of how we live, but it also requires some fundamentally new technology; I am excited to see where the cutting edge thinking is.  Meanwhile, over a relatively calm weekend, the draft accord has been made public – there have been some significant advances but also a ways to go.  Negotiations will be continuing in earnest!  More on all of that tomorrow (I hope – it will be a long day).  

Today, however, my attention is elsewhere as our postgrads, research fellows and academic staff make their final preparations for the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).  The science goes on – as it must and will, regardless of the Paris negotiations. We still know far too little about the complexity of this magnificent planet, how to best live on it sustainably, and the imminent and the longer-term impacts of climate and wider environmental change.  
In my own research group (the OGU), my colleagues will be talking about increases in extreme rainfall during a past global warming event that is potentially analogous to the warming of today (see Matthew Carmichael’s research); the latest reconstructions of how carbon dioxide concentrations have changed over the past 3 million years (see Marcus Badger’s research); and the long-term controls on the hydrological cycle of the Mediterranean region (see Jan Peter Mayser’s research). All of them are collaborating with climate modellers in BRIDGE. Others in BRIDGE will be discussing how to improve the next generation of Earth System models, how to forecast land use impacts on the atmosphere, and examining the biological consequences of past ocean acidification events.  Anita Ganesan and Matt Rigby are both presenting talks on methane cycling and monitoring – a reminder that CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas and that cars and cities are not the only cause of global warming.  Our glaciologists are exploring the future of the ice sheets and glaciers. Our civil engineers and geographers are presenting the latest research on all aspects of the hydrological cycle: improved models of catchments; better flood and drought forecasting; and better understanding how land use change has affected the chemistry of our rivers.  

Through all of this, there is a persistent and recurring theme of constraining uncertainty as well as understanding uncertainty in the context of decision-making. Scientists, industry and leaders must develop better tools for navigating environmental uncertainty, a focus of the Cabot Institute in 2015 and for which the need has been aptly demonstrated by Storm Desmond’s impact on Cumbria.
It is a remarkable variety of research – and that is just a sample from the University of Bristol.  
I’m never apologetic about promoting Bristol achievements and activity – it is what I know best, it is world-leading and it is my job!  Here, however, singling out these Bristol-centric contributions makes a stronger point; the above are just a few examples of the research conducted in just one institution.  Some 20,000 scientists will attend AGU!  There is profound and diverse effort devoted to understanding our planet and improving how we live upon it.

A fantastic example of some research being led by our colleagues will be on display in London on Monday as part of a Royal Society Discussion Meeting on the Biological and Climatic Impacts of Ocean Trace Element Chemistry. The event is co-convened by our Oxford friend, colleague and frequent collaborator, Gideon Henderson. Chatting to Gideon a few days ago, he emphasised the importance of the ocean in regulating our climate: ‘The oceans consume 27% of the carbon we emit, after all, and the ocean biosphere naturally consumes 11 Gtonnes of C per year.’ This is a huge issue. Currently, the ocean buffers the atmosphere against human action – but it is unclear how long this will continue.  Moreover, the ocean does so at a cost:


  • As the ocean absorbs energy, it warms. 
  • As the ocean absorbs this carbon, its pH declines. 
  • As marine phytoplankton assimilate this carbon and sink, they change the chemical state of the ocean, from top to bottom, creating oxygen dead zones and transforming the redox state of trace but biologically vital elements.   


This research is an important reminder that the issues associated with rising greenhouse gas concentrations encompass more than just the weather – greenhouse gases are changing the chemistry, physics and biology of our planet, with unclear consequences.  Their full synergistic effects, through these complex biogeochemical systems, remain difficult to anticipate. Their consequences difficult to predict. 
And so, as the negotiations continue, we continue our research.  On the oceans and the tropical rain forests; the deserts of the Sahara and the Arctic; the peatlands and permafrost; the soils and the bedrock beneath; the atmosphere and the cryosphere.  On the plants, animals and microorganisms that coexist with and co-regulate these ecosystems.  And of course, the people dependent on them.

This blog is by Prof Rich Pancost, Director of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol.  For more information about the University of Bristol at COP21, please visit

Prof Rich Pancost


This blog is part of a COP21 daily report series. View other blogs in the series below:
Monday 30 November: COP21 daily report

Atmospheric and oceanic impacts of Antarctic glaciation across the Eocene–Oligocene transition

Composite satellite image of what the Earth may have looked like prior to Antarctic
glaciation during the late Eocene (image by Alan Kennedy).

The Eocene-Oligocene Transition occurred approx. 34 million years ago and was one of the biggest climatic shifts since the end of the Cretaceous (with the extinction of the dinosaurs). The Earth dramatically cooled and the Antarctic ice sheet first formed, but the cause and nature of the cooling remain uncertain. Using a climate model, HadCM3L, we looked at the effect of ice sheet growth and palaeogeographical change (i.e. continental reconfiguration as Australia separated from Antarctica) on the Earth’s steady-state climate. We utilised four simulations: a late Eocene palaeogeography with and without an ice sheet and an early Oligocene palaeogeography with and without an ice sheet.

The formation of the Antarctic ice sheet causes a similar atmospheric response for both palaeogeographies: cooling of the air over Antarctica, intensification of the polar atmospheric cell and increased winds over the Southern Ocean. The sea surface temperature response to the growth of ice is very different, however, between the two palaeogeographies. For the Eocene palaeogeography there is a 6°C warming in the South Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean in response to ice growth, but very little change (or even a slight cooling) for the Oligocene palaeogeography. Why, under the same forcing (the appearance of the ice sheet), do these different palaeogeographies have such different sea surface temperature responses?

The stronger winds over the Southern Ocean force more-saline water from the southern Indian Ocean into the less-saline southern Pacific Ocean. This is particularly important for the Eocene simulations, where the narrow gap between Australia and Antarctica limits flow from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean. As salinity in the southern Pacific Ocean increases the water becomes denser and sinks, releasing heat. This accounts for the increase in sea surface temperature in the Eocene simulations. In the Oligocene simulations, flow is already much greater between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and so there is no marked increase in density, sinking or sea surface temperature following glaciation. There is only a mild cooling due to the presence of the large, cold ice sheet.

Whether in reality the dominant ocean response to glaciation was warming or cooling may have impacted the growth of the ice sheet at this major transition in the Earth’s history. However, more importantly, this research highlights that sensitivity to subtle changes in palaeogeography can potentially have very large effects on the modelled climatic response to an event such as Antarctic glaciation. This could be very important for understanding palaeoclimate records and interpreting climate model results.

This research, carried out by Alan Kennedy, Dr Alex Farnsworth and Prof Dan Lunt of the Cabot Institute and University of Bristol with others, is featured in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. The full special issue on the theme of ‘Feedbacks on climate in the Earth System’ and the paper can be accessed here.

Special issue cover (image from Royal Society).

Citation: Kennedy A.T., Farnsworth A., Lunt D.J., Lear C.H., & Markwick P.J. (2015) Atmospheric and oceanic impacts of Antarctic glaciation across the Eocene–Oligocene transition. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 373, 20140419, doi:10.1098/rsta.2014.0419.
This blog is written by Alan Kennedy from the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.  This blog post was edited from Alan’s blog post at Ezekial Boom.

Alan Kennedy


Frontiers of Science: Stimulating conversations between scientists

It’s been a fantastic start to the UK-India Frontiers of Science meeting in Khandala, India. The Royal Society organises Frontiers of Science meetings to stimulate conversations between scientists of different disciplines, and between scientists from different countries.
Bringing together people who don’t normally talk to each other is key: you have no idea until to you talk to them that there are other scientists out there who, for example, have developed a method that does exactly what you want to do, but in a different context. Or, equally, would benefit from your analytical method or computational model.
It’s also just plain refreshing to hear about subjects that you don’t study, and how different people tackle problems.

Networks while networking, and motoring on the microscopic level!

Today, there were two sessions: one on statistical models and one on cellular motors. We heard about how to use networks to figure out flavour combinations in cookery (bring on Heston Blumenthal…), and how extraordinary molecules “walk” through cells, carrying cargo around that is essential for our bodies to function. And all the time, my mind was buzzing with ideas and inspiration.
We then had a policy session, based on the use of biotechnology in agriculture, which was a lively discussion with lots of excellent ideas about how we, as scientists, can contribute to the subject and (probably most importantly) to the communication of the relevant science to society.

Waves in water

All of this is going on in the magical surroundings of Khandala, in a hill top retreat just over an hour away from the bustle of Mumbai. After the excitement of the science, we had an opportunity to relax with some traditional Indian music, a form called Jal Tarang meaning “waves in water”, which consists of carefully tuned ceramic bowls of water (tuned according to the amount of water in each bowl), struck with drumsticks to produce a clear, ringing tone, accompanied by Indian drums such as the tabla.

And finally …

Other than having the opportunity to take part in such a wonderful meeting, my other piece of good news this week was that I received a Royal Society research grant to fund a new piece of laboratory equipment, which will mean I can measure a lot more samples than previously.
All-in-all, not a bad few days!
This blog has been reproduced with kind permission by the Royal Society.  You can view the original blog on their website.
This blog is written by Cabot Institute member Kate Hendry, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol.

India-UK scientific seminar: Developing new records of global change

The Royal Society of London, which was founded in November 1660, is the oldest existing scientific society with a long history of working internationally. Indeed, in 1723, the Royal Society established the post of Foreign Secretary, nearly 60 years before the British government did. In 2014, science remains a global endeavour which requires both international discussion and collaboration. In order to facilitate international and collaborative study, the Royal Society recently funded a three-day seminar for Indian and UK climate scientists. The aim of the proposal was to help develop new records of past global change in India using a variety of geological and geochemical techniques.

The seminar, hosted by Professor Paul Pearson (Cardiff University) and Professor Pratul Saraswati (IIT Bombay), was held in Bhuj between the 15th and 18th of January. Bhuj is a relatively small city in the district of Kutch and is located approximately 100km from the Indian-Pakistan border. In 2001, Bhuj was devastated by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake. The death toll approached 20,000 and over 600,000 people were made homeless. However, since then, Bhuj has become an outstanding example of a town rebuilt from scratch thanks to government support and corporate involvement. The city has become the focal point of western India’s growth and more than 200 companies have been established in the region since 2001. Of particular importance is the cement manufacturing industry which exploits the abundance of lime- and clay-containing materials (e.g. limestone and shale).

The UK was represented by five scientists whose research encompassed the major disciplines in past climate research. Attendees were selected from a range of universities, including two participants from the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol (Dr. Dan Lunt, a climate modeller based in the School of Geography, and myself, Gordon Inglis, an organic geochemist based in the School of Chemistry). Ten Indian scientists were also in attendance, including members from academia and industry. The primary aim of the seminar was to develop stronger international collaborations between India and the UK, with an emphasis upon developing new climate records from the Indian continent. The first two days were designated for individual presentations and focused upon the regional geology of India and a variety of analytical techniques available to both parties. The third day was spent in the field and allowed participants to visit the geological successions discussed in the seminar.

A particular highlight was a visit to the Deccan Traps. Encompassing most of central and western India, the Deccan Traps is the world’s largest continental flood-basalt province outside Siberia. The eruption is thought to occur between 68 and 65 million years ago, approximately coinciding with the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event, and is associated with the demise of the dinosaurs and other marine and terrestrial species. Although the event has been attributed to a large bolide impact in Mexico, the Deccan Traps were almost certainly a major contributor to this extinction. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist who works at the Carnegie Institution, has argued that the Deccan Traps may have been responsible for a 75ppm increase in carbon dioxide during this interval. Although this is relatively small in geological terms, it is comparable to the increase in CO2 that has occurred over the past 50 years as a result of anthropogenic climate change. In more recent times, geologists are studying whether the Deccan Traps can store CO2 derived from coal-fired power stations in an attempt to reverse anthropogenic climate change.

Although the visit to India was brief, the seminar was a success and both Indian and UK scientists showed a great deal of enthusiasm for developing future collaborations. In particular, there is great scope to reconstruct past climate records over the past 70 million years and how that has corresponded to major biotic events.

This blog was written by Gordon Inglis, a PhD student in the School of Chemistry.
You can follow Gordon on Twitter (@climategordon)

For information on Royal Society funding opportunities, click here. 

My week in Westminster: Part 2

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Alan Pitt

After two days of being in the ‘classroom’ learning about science in Parliament and Government it was time to go and shadow my civil servant, Alan Pitt, the Secretary to the Council for Science and Technology (S&T) who advise the Prime Minister directly on science related issues.  Alan is based in the Government Office for Science (Go-Science), which is located in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills! My morning began by visiting Portcullis House to hear the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Mark Walport, be quizzed by the House of Commons S&T Select Committee, which consists of cross-party MPs. Their job is to scrutinise Government on S&T to ensure the policy making process is robust.  Mark Walport, gave an overview of his vision for Science in the UK which included infrastructure in terms of energy and climate, qualitative and quantitative scientific evidence used in Government and a prominent leadership role for science.  This session was followed by an inquiry on Horizon Scanning including what this entails and how it operates!

Sir Mark Walport

Next stop was BIS where I was introduced to various members of Go-Science who explained their roles as civil servants including defence and resilience, coordinating all the different scientific committees, groups etc.  I learnt about the complexity of science organisation in the civil service.  For example, every department bar one has a Chief Scientific Advisor and a team beneath them. They report to Ministers who report to the Prime Minister.

Alan was particularly busy organising the CST quarterly meeting to be held at the Royal Society! Mid-afternoon I went with him over to the Royal Society building to help set up for the evening meeting and dinner.  The CST consists of members appointed by the Prime Minister who have extremely impressive credentials.  Chaired by the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, other members include Vice Chancellors, the President of the Royal Society, and prominent scientists in business.

After a busy but thoroughly enjoyable day it was time to go and see a show in the West-End!

Thursday 5 December 2013
On my final day of shadowing I was lucky enough to be able to sit on the CST meeting and hear what they get to discuss and consequently some of the content that goes into a letter directly written for the Prime Minister! It was a fascinating if little surreal experience!  I finished my time in London by having a tour of the Royal Society with the opportunity to see the original scribblings of Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke.

The Royal Society Pairing scheme has been an action-packed and fun experience and a real eye-opener to how science is used in Parliament and Government.  Everything is far more scrutinised then I ever envisaged and I hope that the scheme will help to enhance this process by building relationships between the policy makers and the scientists.

This blog has been written by Dr Emma J Stone, Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol.
Emma is visiting civil servant Alan Pitt, secretary to the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, at the House of Commons for a ‘Week in Westminster’ commencing Monday 2 December as part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society.  Read more.

My week in Westminster – Part 1

Monday 2 December 2013
36 scientists were up bright and early in London for a tour around the Palace of Westminster as part of the Royal Society science and parliament pairing scheme.  We got to visit both Chambers as well as learning about the history of the UK parliament and the interactions between the Monarch, House of Lords and House of Commons. Did you know that to reserve a seat in the House of Commons the MP has to personally place a hand-written green card in a slot above their seat?!

After coffee and biscuits in Portcullis House we were introduced to the scheme and heard from previous participants about their experiences and the forging of relationships between scientists and MPs/civil servants. Discussion ensued about the the lack of scientists in Parliament (apparently not as bas as we thought!), as well as the intricacies of the House of Lords such as there being no cap currently on the number of peers invited to join!

An hour later having been filled up on what was a very nice lunch we learnt about the different scientific committees in Parliament (note not Government, these are very separate things!) including being introduced to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology by the Director Dr Chris Tyler,  The House of Lords Science and Technology committee by Lord Robert Winston, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (Victoria Charlton), Parliamentary & Scientific Committee by Professor Alan Malcom, and the House of Commons Library.  I never knew there were so many committees but they are integral to the policy making process by scrutinising parliament and using evidenced based research as much as possible – something we scientists are very keen on!

Tuesday 3 December 2013
So the week continues in Westminster today with our location for talks being in Westminster Hall.  After passing through security we settled in for a day of talks concerned with science and Government.  The day began with an informative presentation by Jill Rutter (from the Institute of Government) on science at Whitehall. The largest proportion of permanent secretaries in charge of departments come from Economics backgrounds (26%) with only 11% from maths and far few from science effectively reflecting a ‘Science Free Zone’.  She offered insights such as the fact scientists need to explain scientific evidence but understand that it is politicians who make the decisions and therefore need to be clear about the role.

Following Jill we had an entertaining talk by David McKay, the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for Environment and Climate Change who succinctly outlined the various conflicts that can exist between objectives of the Department e.g. an increase in renewable energy is is needed but this could conflict with the need to maintain energy security.  He was also keen to provide us with back of the envelope calculations to make us think about the problems policy makers can face: e.g an average road of cars fuelled by biofuel would require an  ~8km verge on which to grow this source of energy! (making assumptions about speed, engine efficiency etc).

We finished a packed morning with a talk by Oliver Grant from the Horizon Scanning Centre who examine longer-term strategy beyond the length of fixed term Parliaments and how policy might adapt/change.

The afternoon began with Chris Fleming from the Government Office of Science providing the top ten tips for academics which included building relationships with policy makers in Government, try to keep in mind the differences between lobbying and giving advice and hold realistic expectations!

This was followed by an interactive session on Science supporting UK Emergency Response (SAGE) and its interaction with COBR.  We formed several small groups and were asked to imagine that we were giving advice as members of SAGE to COBR on two scenarios involving sub-zero temperatures and snow in the UK and the escape of a Flu virus from Myanmar!

The afternoon was finished by a talk from Alexandra Saxon at the RCUK which resulted in a very heated debate about funding science and impact, and a proposal by Dr Natalia Lawrence on producing a UK Evidence Information Service (effectively a database of science specialist who could be called on to give evidence).

After so many interesting talks we were already for a well-deserved drink at Walkers of Whitehall!

Tomorrow the shadowing begins!

This blog has been written by Dr Emma J Stone, Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol.
Emma is visiting civil servant Alan Pitt, secretary to the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, at the House of Commons for a ‘Week in Westminster’ commencing Monday 2 December as part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society.  Read more.