Baroness Neville-Jones visits National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial


Imperial scientists demonstrate equipment to visiting parliamentarian

An Imperial researcher won a Royal Society Pairing Scheme and spent time discussing science and policy with Baroness Neville-Jones.

Dr Pamela Swiatlowska, a postdoctoral researcher at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) at Imperial College London, recently hosted Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones through the Royal Society Pairing Scheme.

This prestigious scheme aims to bridge the gap between scientific research and policymaking, fostering a deeper understanding of how researchers can contribute to policy development and navigate the dynamics of Parliament.

Bringing science to Parliament

The first part of the pairing scheme took place in March 2024, when Dr Swiatlowska spent several days in Parliament with her pair, Baroness Neville-Jones. The session began with an in-depth introduction at The Royal Society, covering the intersection of policy and science, science in media, and open publishing. Highlights included viewing the Society’s Charter Book with signatures from Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, Robert Boyle's original list of scientific aspirations, and Sir Isaac Newton's death mask.BookThe subsequent days were organised by Baroness Neville-Jones, providing Dr Swiatlowska with a comprehensive view of parliamentary operations. Activities included attending a Science and Technology Select Committee meeting on university spin-out companies at the House of Lords, observing Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, engaging in a discussion with Sir Liam Fox about science and business scale-ups, and participating in oral questions and legislation sessions in the House of Lords. The visit culminated with a tour of the historic Palace of Westminster.

Bringing policy to Imperial

During the second part of the scheme, Dr Swiatlowska reciprocated by organising a visit for Baroness Neville-Jones to the NHLI's ICTEM Building in June. The day began with a series of flash presentations showcasing various research projects within the NHLI.

Dr Swiatlowska provided an overview of the NHLI, followed by detailed presentations from her colleagues on research topics spanning heart health,new heath technologies and the link between HIV and heart disease.

The visit continued with lab demonstrations on the 4th and 5th floors of the ICTEM Building. Baroness Neville-Jones observed a range of cutting-edge experiments and the latest research equipment. The day concluded with further demonstrations from researchers, including on cardiovascular disease in autoimmune rheumatic conditions.

Medical imaging demonstration

Deeper connections between science and policy

Baroness Neville-Jones said, "I found the Friday visit extraordinarily interesting and informative. You and your colleagues laid on a first-class program and everyone gave a lot of their time to me for which I am very grateful. The presentations were pitched at a level I could understand and the laboratory visits brought the process of research alive. It was a wonderful morning which I shall not forget."

Reflecting on the experience, Dr Swiatlowska remarked, "As a researcher, the opportunity to step outside the lab and immerse myself in the world of policymaking was both very insightful and invaluable. The week highlighted the power of collaboration across disciplines and sectors. By working together, scientists and policymakers can develop more informed and effective policies."

The Royal Society Pairing Scheme continues to play a crucial role in fostering mutual understanding and collaboration between the scientific community and policymakers, ultimately contributing to the development of well-informed public policies.

For more information about the Royal Society Pairing Scheme, visit Royal Society Pairing Scheme.


Craig Whittall

Craig Whittall
Office of the President

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Government-and-policy, Health-policy
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