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Bridging the Gap Between Academia and Government

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The Royal Society Pairing Scheme pairs academics and civil servants together for one week to share knowledge and learning to ensure policy making is strengthened by links with academia and data. Through the scheme, policy makers will make lasting relationships with academics who can provide expert knowledge on areas relevant to their work and network with other civil servants working across government.


What does the scheme involve?

The scheme consists of a ‘Week in Westminster’ which will take place from Monday 14 March 2022. The week involves a program of sessions including workshops, talks from invited speakers and 1-1 shadowing sessions to learn more about the processes of parliament and the science research and advice landscape. To take part you will need to be available to meet with your scientist pair at least twice during the week and we encourage you to invite colleagues in your team to join you as appropriate.

The Civil Servant will then be invited to visit the academic’s home institution and find more about their work in person. Your pair will introduce you to their work and colleagues, giving you an insight into their area of research and an opportunity to explore how you might use these connections in the future.


Who will I be paired with?

The Royal Society pairing scheme is open to applications from scientists across all science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) disciplines working in academia or industry. To be eligible for the scheme, the scientists are required to have at least two years postdoctoral research experience or equivalent research experience in industry. The scheme is open to all civil servants but is particularly aimed at those working in policy areas.

We are looking to pair academics from a wide range of backgrounds:

Health, Disease and Epidemiology x12
Climate Change x5
Technology x5
Genetic Modification x3
Chemistry x2

A full list can be found here but in particular:

  • Academic D studies genome regulation in neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, using epigenetic signatures to interpret the outcomes of environmental and genetic risk factors and understanding the mechanisms in which the disease presents.
  • Academic H research focusses on understanding how cancer-causing blood cells communicate with the surrounding environment of the bones and hijack the system for its survival and propagation of the disease.
  • Academic I research focusses on the newly emerging and exciting area of manufacturing of affordable cultivated (lab-grown) meat products. Specifically addressing the challenges to produce cultivated meat products at the industrial scale, while lowering the production costs to make these products affordable and available to the population.
  • Academic M is an expert in machine learning, statistical learning theory and AI. Their research agenda can be summarised as: "How can we make artificial intelligent systems more human-like?"
  • Academic N is a chemical engineer with over 12-years’ experience on developing clean technologies for meeting carbon neutrality globally in a scalable and effective way
  • Academic P has been supporting climate action by investigating how to store energy from renewable sources in the form of chemical energy and developing how to store chemical fuels in a safe, economical and sustainable fashion.
  • Academic S research interests lie in computer vision, information retrieval, and natural language processing. They work to develop new computational methods to automatically geo-localise children's storybooks, for instance, automatically making a storybook geographically aligned given the reader's background such as readability and local patterns.
  • Academic U’s research fits under social care primarily focusing on the inequalities in dementia care and ageing and is currently leading on national and international research in the field.
  • Academic V research interests involve investigating variations in sea level and flooding from timescales of seconds (waves) to days (tides and storm surges), through to long-term century scale rises in mean sea level, and its impact on coast.
  • Academic X is an expert in robotics and has a passion for medical care. Career highlights include developing technologies for cancer diagnosis and treatment in the liver and prostate as well as techniques for gynaecologic radiation therapy, all of which have been applied in clinical patient trials.
  • Academic Y research focuses on making wireless communication systems and networks more intelligent in using their resources and providing services. Within last 5 years, they have focused on the Internet of things (IoT) and 5G-and-beyond related technologies.
  • Academic Z's research aim is to investigate how the built environment shapes our health status and our energy consumption in the current and in future climates. This involves understanding of what determines energy consumption in buildings and how the built environment impacts on our well-being and mental health.


Following the scheme

By taking part in the scheme, Civil Servants will be able to take away:

  • Direct links with practicing talented research academics and external science organisations
  • An understanding the process of scientific research within government and externally
  • An understanding of how to access and use this knowledge to inform discussions and decision making.


I hugely enjoyed my experience of the scheme. It was really interesting to explain my own work and to get a sense for how the work of government is seen through researchers.”

Dr Alan Pitt, former Secretary for the Council for Science and Technology, paired with Dr Emma Stone at the University of Bristol


This is a great opportunity to help you to expand networks, improve your knowledge of the research landscape and understand how the research community can support you in your day-to-day work.

If you are interested in pairing up with an academic, please complete this form by COP 15 December.

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