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From Lab Bench to Backbench

​March 04, 2020

Cardiff Metropolitan University
Royal Society Pairing Scheme Scientists 2020


This week Dr. Imtiaz Khan from Cardiff Metropolitan University swaped a lab coat for legislation when he visited Benedict Dellot at the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall. The week (1st – 5th March) is part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society—the UK's national academy of science—with support from the Government Office of Science.

During his visit, Imtiaz will shadow Benedict and learn about his work. As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, Imtiaz will also attend a mock Select Committee.

The visit will provide Imtiaz with a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how his research can be used to make evidence-based decisions. It will also give Benedict the opportunity to investigate the science behind his decisions and improve their access to scientific evidence.

Dr. Imtiaz Khan said: "This visit will enable me to gain detailed understanding on the impact of machine learning algorithms and AI on society, for example algorithmic bias in policing and at the same time experience the process of shaping futureproof policies in relation to AI and big data".   

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said: "It is crucial that we invest in the relationship between scientists and politicians, so that either profession can articulate and appreciate the pressures confronted by both. The Royal Society Pairing Scheme does just this, endowing scientists with a fascinating insight into parliament, and connecting policymakers with the best innovative thinking in the world, and in the process, enabling both to draw from and engage with the mutual expertise needed to address the challenges of our time."

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

Benedict Dellot will get hands on experience of research on data science when he dons a lab coat to visits Imtiaz Khan at Cardiff Metropolitan University later this year.