Nicola was grilled by young and budding scientists during an event in Parliament aimed at inspiring a generation of students.
The event, Voice of the Future, was also set up to strengthen the dialogue and collaboration between the science community and Parliament. Scientists and students were given a unique insight into how science is discussed by ministers and officials, as well as how select committees operate.
Questions were submitted to ministers, MPs and advisers by a wide range of scientific organisations, and the line-up of respondents was impressive.
In addition to the Science and Technology Committee, of which Nicola is Chair, witnesses included the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Mark Walport; the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP; and Shadow Minister, Yvonne Fovargue MP. The questions ranged from current work and ongoing inquiries to topical issues in the science and engineering industries.
The session was also history in the making, as the audience was surprised with a streamed recording from British Astronaut Major Tim Peake, who is currently on the International Space Station.
Nicola introduced the video after being questioned by the panel of young scientists, and she, along with Jo Johnson MP, submitted questions to Major Peake about the impact of his mission on the UK space sector – the subject of the Science and Technology Committee’s current inquiry – and his life science experiments in space.
The audience heard Major Peake’s fascinating answers, along with a message about the future of space exploration and the importance of the next generation of scientists and engineers here in the UK.
Nicola says It is a great honour for the Science & Technology Select Committee to be hosting the meeting at which this piece of Parliamentary history is being made. We are world leaders in space discovery and growth in the space industries is outstripping the rest of the economy by a factor of four, and therefore it is so encouraging to hear such a positive message from Major Tim Peake, which I am sure will help to inspire future generations of scientists.
A full video recording of the event, including Major Peake’s address, can be accessed by following this link.