News - 17/10/2011

Young researchers display our future to UK politicians

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Today, Monday 14 March, sees 180 of the countrys leading early-stage career researchers descend on Parliament to bring politics and science closer together.

SET for Britain – a competition in the House of Commons which involves researchers displaying posters of their work to panels of expert judges – will be visited by more than 100 MPs, to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science base.

Andrew Miller MP, Chair of both the competition’s organising committee and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, says, SET for Britain is a key event in the political calendar for parliamentarians wanting to be informed and enlightened by the incredible progress being made by scientists and engineers in the UK.

I have no doubt that every politician from both Houses can benefit from the accumulated wisdom, and pure enthusiasm for science and engineering, visiting us today.  Our society faces challenges that only science can solve.  The researchers here today will be the superheroes of the twenty-first century.

Politicians will have the chance to see and hear about latest research on everything from how sleeping patterns affect the onset of schizophrenia, to the latest in solar cell technology, and the possibility of finding extra dimensions through the Large Hadron Collider experiment. 

Professor Brian Cox, TV star physicist, who is visiting the event to meet the researchers and present the Westminster Medal, awarded to the overall winner, says, Its amazing to see the range of work on display, you can’t help but feel assured that science and engineering are going to provide answers to the UK’s most pressing concerns, from climate change to cyber security.

Most importantly of all, these young researchers will continue to explore nature. Driven by their curiosity and skill, who knows what they will discover?

Politicians take note; the researchers here today are this country’s future. It is your job to ensure that Britain is the best place in the world for them to continue their research.

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee is running the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, The Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry and The Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, E.ON, plantimpact, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments. 

1.  Contact
For further information about the event, images, or interview opportunities, please contact Joe Winters:
Tel: 020 7470 4815
Mob: 07946 321473
E-mail: joseph.winters@iop.org

2.  SET for Britain
SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving 180 early stage or early career researchers - judged by professional and academic experts.  All presenters are entered into either the engineering; the biological and biomedical sciences; the physical sciences (chemistry); or the physical sciences (physics) session, depending on their specialism. 

Each session will result in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Bronze winners will receive a £1,000 prize; Silver, £2,000; and Gold, £3,000.  There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal.

SET for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997.  Following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry are working together to further his legacy. 

The event is made possible by industry sponsors BP, E.ON, plantimpact, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments.

Early stage or early career researchers include university research students, postgraduates, research assistants, postdocs, research fellows, newly-appointed lecturers, part-time and mature students, returners, those people embarking on a second career, and their equivalent in national, public sector and industrial laboratories, and appropriate final year undergraduate and MSc students, all of whom are engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research.

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