IOP reaches out at the party conferences

1 October 2013

Fringe events at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative Party conferences aimed to put science on the political agenda this autumn as delegates met representatives of three learned societies including the IOP.

Speakers involved in the government and opposition addressed the meetings, which were organised by the Science Council and jointly sponsored by the IOP, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Biology.

The Science Council’s chief executive, Diana Garnham, chaired the events, each of which had the theme of “Innovation nation: the future of UK science”. The first was held on 16 September at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow and addressed by Jenny Woods, a scientist and Liberal Democrat spokesperson. Lord Stevenson, shadow spokesperson for business, innovation and skills, spoke at the fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton on 24 September, and Crawley-based company Elekta Ltd, which won an IOP Innovation Award this year, exhibited at the meeting.

George Freeman MP, government adviser for life sciences, spoke at the meeting held in Manchester on 30 September during the Conservative Party Conference, and Glasgow-based company Coherent Scotland Ltd, which also won an IOP Innovation Award, exhibited at the meeting.

The IOP’s director of communications and international relations, Beth Taylor, represented the Institute at the Glasgow and Brighton meetings, as did the IOP’s regional officer in the north west, Louise Butcher, at the Manchester event.

Taylor said: “We think it is important to show people who may be interested in politics, and may have an influence on all our futures, how scientific research leads on to technologies that save lives and create vibrant British companies offering high quality jobs. We were especially pleased to sponsor these events in partnership with our colleagues in chemistry and biology who share the same objectives.”

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