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Science and the Parliament

Science and the parliament 2012.

It has been a busy week here, with a visit to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) ‘Science and the Parliament’ meeting in Edinburgh. Here our latest project, the ‘Chemistry Map of Scotland‘ was launched by Prof. David Phillips (OBE), President of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The project allows local schoolchildren to put chemistry on the map, and was created for the Scottish branch of the RSC as part of the celebration of the International Year of Chemistry (2011). The site is also, in part, a memorial to an old friend of mine, Dr Nigel Botting of St Andrews University.

The launch meeting itself, while sponsored by the RSC, is intended to raise the profile of science more generally in parliament, and there were a number of august speakers, including Scottish Parliamentarians at the event.

The short of the story from the meeting is that the Scottish higher education system performs very strongly in pure research metrics, but this does not benefit the economy – at least out-with the very important higher education sector! My feeling was that the meeting lacked the weight that a leading industrialist or entrepreneur might have provided on the main panel, but was none-the-less quite thought provoking.

Above right: Photo taken at the Chemistry and the Parliament meeting immediately after the main panel discussion, with a screen-shot from the Chemistry Map of Scotland in the background.