Voice of the Future 2017: young scientists question MPs and Ministers

By Dr Andrew Quigley, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford

Blog Andrew_VOF2017
Dr Andrew Quigley representing the Biochemical Society at Voice of the Future event . Photo: Royal Society of Biology

“Voice of the Future is a very unusual event” says Dr Stephen Benn, Director of Parliamentary Affairs at the Royal Society of Biology.  There is no event quite like it anywhere else in Parliament, possibly the world.  How often do young representatives of professional bodies get the opportunity to sit in for a Parliamentary Committee and question MPs about science policy issues that matter to them?  But that is exactly the chance that I and 50 other young scientists and engineers were given. Continue reading

Building our Industrial Strategy: Investing in science, research and innovation

By Dr Kelly Davidge, Research and Development Manager at Kirkstall Ltd

Parliament pic

In the Government’s recently published Green Paper on building the UK’s industrial strategy, they recognise the importance of investment in science, research and innovation and have committed to a number of strategies to boost the UK innovation economy. Although the UK has three of the top 10 and 12 of the top 100 world universities, we lag behind other countries when it comes to investment in innovation through research and development (R&D):

  • 1.7% of UK GDP- gross domestic product- is invested in R&D funding, compared with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of 2.4%;
  • business investment in R&D is 1% in the UK, but 2% in Germany, 2.5% in Japan and over 3% in South Korea;
  • the UK produces a similar number of spin-off companies to the US but registers fewer patents;
  • none of our universities feature in the top 10 of Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities – 2016, a list that ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and drive the global economy.

Continue reading

Supporting women working in STEM careers

By Emma Pettengale, Commissioning Editor, Portland Press

The United States Census Bureau says that although women make up nearly half of the working population, they remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) occupations. In the UK, the Women in the STEM workforce (WISE) campaign strives to achieve gender balance in the sector.  Recent figures from WISE (Nov 2016) show that while there have been some increases, women still only make up 21% of the Core STEM workforce in the UK. Globally, women make up an average of 28.4% of those employed in scientific research and development according to a recent report. There is a need to encourage and support women in STEM, and the Biochemical Society and Portland Press actively supports female members of the life science community in their goals. 

I asked a selection of female scientists from across a range of fields to talk to us about what drew them to science and the female scientists that they most admire. Continue reading