The UK’s science and engineering communities need to engage much further with their local MPs in order for the House to better understand science and engineering projects taking place in their constituencies, the Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee has said.

Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, was speaking at a PolicyNet session, Science and Engineering in the House, at the Royal Academy of Engineering on Monday, 14 January.

Imran Khan, Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, took the role of question master in a debate that focused on what policy specialists within the science and engineering community could do to gain greater representation in the House of Commons.

Mr Miller, who was pleased to see the new multi-billion pound Mersey Bridge project near to his own constituency, asked the audience to engage more frequently with their local MP, explaining that better informing the House is a two-way conversation and that Parliament can only act with the knowledge it has access to.

He went on to explain that recent rule changes in the House which provided for the election of Select Committee members gave them a wider remit and more power to influence policy.

Mr Miller also said he had seen the House develop a firmer interest in science and engineering since becoming an MP in 1992 and hopes that his legacy as Select Committee Chair would be to increase willingness amongst MPs to engage with the science and engineering community.

Other topics covered in the hour-long session included the need for a good relationship between engineering and finance, stronger links between the UK and other nations and the importance of maximising the development of women in science and engineering.

Notes for editors

PolicyNet

PolicyNet provides a forum for discussion on all aspects of policy making within government, parliament and other organisations. Another facet is providing networking opportunities for policy staff from a range of (mostly scientific) organisations such as learned societies, research councils and think tanks. Past speakers include Jil Matheson, Phil Willis MP, Adam Afriyie MP and Sir David King. The next PolicyNet meeting will take place in April. For further information please contact Katherine MacGregor at The Royal Academy of Engineering at  Katherine MacGregor

The Royal Academy of Engineering

Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Ed Holmes at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7766 0655