Scientists shaping policy join virtual ‘Week in Westminster’ through Royal pairing

Dr Kostas Tsavdaridis was elected by the Royal Society to join Government Officials exploring how COVID-19 insights have sparked a new era of collaboration between scientists and policymakers.

Held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Week in Westminster showcased how science and technology are crucial to informed policymaking.

The Royal Society scheme, now in its 21st year, pairs scientists with parliamentarians and civil servants, so that they can experience each other’s worlds and explore how collaboration is vital to solving key societal problems.  

Representing the University of Leeds, Dr Tsavdaridis advised Government and opposition political parties responding to scientific advice in response to COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Dr Tsavdaridis was paired with Rt Hon Hilary Benn, who is Member of Parliament for Leeds Central, and Chair of the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union.

Dr Tsavdaridis said: "It was my honour to be selected to Chair the Select Committee evidence session themed on building resilience to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been a catalyst to build strong relations between scientists and politicians.

This is the starting point of a new era, where there is a universal understanding of the significance of research and appropriate policymaking.

Dr Konstantinos Tsavdaridis, School of Civil Engineering

“We want to build a society that is more resilient to the unforseen events of the future.”

President of the Royal Society, Adrian Smith, said: “The Royal Society Pairing Scheme equips scientists with an insight into the workings of parliament, helping them to approach and engage with decision makers.

“While the scheme is in its 21st year, it is a year in which the importance of science advice has never been more evident as science takes centre stage in helping to inform the decisions politicians are taking as we emerge from the COVID pandemic.

“Science and technology have a vital role to play at the heart of informed policy making, and we should continue to build on what we have learnt during the pandemic to inform decisions on other pressing matters of our time.”

Further information

To learn more about the pairing scheme, visit the Royal Society website.