CSaP has been working with Dr Graeme Reid, Head of Research Funding at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to explore opportunities for early career researchers at Cambridge to contribute to the policy process first-hand.
One of three Cambridge researchers to be offered a placement, CSaP Junior Associate Fellow, Dr Leila Luheshi, has just started her secondment in BIS. She is combining spending one day a week working on the development of the Government's new Agri-tech Life Sciences Strategy with her main job as a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry (thanks to the generous support of her supervisor Professor Christopher Dobson and her funders the BBSRC).
After only one day on the job, she is already busy working with colleagues from the Office of Life Sciences, DEFRA and other interested groups across Whitehall to gather evidence to inform the drafting of a strategy to harness the great strengths of the UK's agricultural science research base and translate them into innovative new technologies that can help to address issues such as global food security and the need for sustainable intensification of agriculture.
"The opportunity to get first hand experience of the policy development process, and to be involved in planning a strategy for how fundamental scientific research can be applied to tackle some of the great policy challenges of our time is extremely exciting", commented Leila. "Working with the excellent team at the Research Base in BIS", she added, "has already proved to be an eye opening experience. I am extremely grateful to CSaP for helping me to find this opportunity and to Dr Graeme Reid at BIS for taking me on."
Commenting on the initiative, CSaP Associate Fellow, Dr Reid, added: "We are at the pilot stage with three or four placements in BIS and the Government Office for Science taking shape. These range from the analysis of long term issues in the Foresight Programme to support for one of the Science Minister's Leadership Councils. We are at an early stage but I hope that these placements will deliver value for the individuals, the University and Government."