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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

From Lab Bench to Backbench for Southampton Researcher

Published: 2 December 2016
Dr Sally Brown and Mr Rory Stewart

SMMI member, Dr Sally Brown, has swapped a lab for legislation this week (28 November - 1 December), as she visits Rory Stewart, Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, and Minister of State for the Department for International Development (DFID) at the House of Commons in Westminster.

Sally is taking part in a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, with support from the Government Office for Science. She is shadowing Mr Stewart to learn about his role and the wider work undertaken in DFID.

As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy-making, Sally will also attend a mock Select Committee. In turn, Mr Stewart has the opportunity to investigate the science behind his decisions, and improve his access to scientific evidence.

Sally’s background is in coastal engineering, climate change and long-term development and environmental change on the coast. She has undertaken research around the African coastline, the Maldives and Bangladesh.

The Royal Society’s pairing scheme started in 2001 and aims to build bridges between parliamentarians, civil servants and some of the best scientists in the UK.

Policy-orientated research really interests me, as it makes scientific findings useful and accessible to all. Pairing with Mr Stewart will help me understand how I can generate greater impact in my research, and influence development agendas to cope with long-term environmental change.

Dr Sally Brown - Senior Research Fellow specialising in coasts and sea-level rise

It has been a great pleasure for me to be paired with Sally, and I hope she will learn from it, and I will learn from her. She has already helped with preparing a speech and engaged with international climate change work.

Mr Rory Stewart - Minister of State for the Department for International Development
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