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Science and the Parliament 2016

On 9 November 2016 a group of IFST members from the Scottish Branch – Brian Wood, Christine Fraser and Jon Wilkin along with IFST's Operations Director, Andrew Gardner – attended the 16th annual Science and the Parliament event organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Scottish science and engineering community to foster close relations with the Scottish Parliament and Government.

The main focus of the event was school education; however, progression to further and higher education were also considered.

The day began with an introduction from Professor Sally Brown (Chair of the Royal Society of Edinburgh), a welcome from Ken Macintosh MSP (Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament) and an opening speech from Professor Sir John Holman (President of the Royal Society of Chemistry).

Professor Shelia Rowan (Chief Scientific Officer) spoke about the changes in policy within the STEM subjects and curricula within primary and secondary education. We were given an update on the

STEMEC report, which was followed by a heated debate about teacher recruitment and retention.

The afternoon sessions focused on topics, such as interdisciplinary learning, colleges, universities and work, gender and STEM and building professional capital. The lack of resources and courses in Scotland related to food technology was also discussed and the panel noted that the issue was not well known within Scottish and Westminster Governments.

John Swinney MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills) shared his views on increasing innovation within industry and commented that this could only be achieved by increasing STEM activities. mAfter his speech, we were treated to a debate on requirements for industrial skills as well as prize giving by various societies, with presentations by Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP (Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science).

Overall, Science and the Parliament 2016 was a well organised event full of interesting debate and networking. It was a real pleasure to represent IFST at the local and national level and to be amongst other well-represented societies and institutes. We would like to showcase the Institute at the next event and would encourage our members in Scotland to support this. Please contact your Scottish Branch for further information.

Dr Jonathan Wilkin, Food Innovation @ Abertay

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