A week in the life of...a Policy Lead!

4 February 2019

STFC’s very own particle physicist, Dr Stewart Martin-Haugh, spent a ‘Week in Westminster’ in November as part of The Royal Society Pairing Scheme – shadowing and experiencing the working life of John Cockaday, Future Sectors Policy Lead.

John is involved with an exciting programme of work, with a focus on the government’s Industrial Strategy ambitions - driving productivity, jobs and growth. John works collaboratively with policy makers across government.

“My pairing week with John Cockaday and the Future Sectors Team was great! I learnt so much about the civil service, science policy and parliament,” Dr Martin-Haugh said. “I have a strong interest in politics (and indeed am married to a civil servant), but I was amazed how much I didn't understand about the work of MPs, committees, ministers and government departments. During my week in Westminster, I met and worked with staff from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Government Office for Science, Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, and attended science policy events at the Royal Society and Parliament. My pair set up a meeting with the Science and University Minister's Private Secretary, and I even got to pick up the red box!”

The Royal Society Pairing Scheme gives policymakers and research scientists a chance to experience each other’s worlds. The scheme, which pairs 30 scientists with UK parliamentarians and civil servants, has been running for almost 20 years.

The tables were turned when 8 civil servants from BEIS spent a snowy day at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell Campus, where Dr Martin-Haugh works. The team was taken on tours of the state-of-the-art facilities at ISIS Neutron Muon Source, RAL Space and Scientific Computing. Unfortunately, the visit had to be shortened due to the ‘snow bomb’.

Dr Martin-Haugh is a particle physicist based at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Switzerland (home of the Large Hadron Collider). Following on from the campus visit, Stewart has also organised a visit to CERN for John Cockaday for later in the year.

Reflecting on his overall experience, Dr Martin-Haugh said he was proud to be able to show how innovative the research being undertaken at STFC is and how UK industry is working with international facilities, including CERN.

"I had a great time showing the BEIS Future Sectors team all the work we do in STFC; from pure science and facilities to providing a place for start-ups to grow."

Last updated: 18 February 2019

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