The 3rd day of the RS pairing scheme involved an exciting set of activities. In the morning I attended my first select committee meeting which was discussing the theme of ‘Post 16 Education’. I have often seen these select committees on TV and was always curious to observe how they operated. This allowed me a first hand view of the procedures and processes. It was interesting to observe the general openness in which questions were asked. It highlighted, to me the significant burgeoning issues of post 16 education, in particular the lack of funding and choices currently available. I will be aiming to attend more of these sessions in the future!

In the afternoon I attended an event for the Goldies singing group. A brilliant example of how communities work together to help each other! The Goldies are a charity specifically set up to help elderly people with learning difficulties, dementia and who are sometimes socially isolated. Ben Howlett invited the Goldies to Parliament in recognition of their services to the community and to launch their new song.

Towards the end of the day I was able to pay a quick visit to the top of the Houses of Parliament! 15235893_10153923086802385_8566086235435888996_o.jpg15271825_10153923084942385_7746282261874823406_o.jpg

An excellent third day in the Houses of Parliament!



I arrived at Portcullis house to start my day of shadowing MP Ben Howlett, with the first meeting with Renewable UK and the discussion of offshore windfarms.

This was followed by a reception for British historical preservation in the House of Lords, where the critical role preservation plays in society, both economically and socially was championed and presented.

In the evening I attended an excellent discussion at the Royal Society on the topic of inequality: reducing global inequality – how can we achieve a fairer world. This was led by a panel of experts discussing the global issues of inequality and how we as a society should tackle it. The panel consisted of experts from charities through to foundations.


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Morning meeting with the Chief Executive for Renewables UK, Hugh McNeal


Royal Society Panel discussion on ‘Inequalities’

Royal Society Pairing scheme Day 1 -28th November 26

Norman French

My week in Parliament began with a tour of the ancient seat of British power. It was interesting to learn about the various and often complex processes and mechanisms of how the system works and functions. The afternoon session consisted of talks and discussions on how Parliament functions (from the simple day to day tasks, ping-ponging of bill documents between the two houses through to the use of Norman French for when the monarch agrees a bill!) and how different scientific bodies can provide information for policy making. It was interesting to talk to some of these bodies on their individual topics and in particular, the growing importance of machine learning and big data.

As part of the scheme I have been paired with the MP for Bath, Ben Howlett, who I will be shadowing for the duration of my time in Parliament.


It will be interesting to see what a day in politics consists of!

A new addition

We were getting fed up with the poor and often random printing quality and capabilities of our current technologies and so we decided to invest in something new…


An Ultimaker 3D printer! So far the printing quality has been amazing and it is enabling us to generate a wide variety of unusual geometries.

EPSRC early career forum meeting

An excellent EPSRC early career forum in manufacturing research meeting at the University of Sheffield. Lots of energy, ideas and collaborations! It is rather amazing what can be achieved when you get a bunch of like minded academics in the same room, spanning across multiple disciplines (I am the designated ‘metal-basher’ in the corner!). Next meeting – University of Bath.