Professor Sarah Main, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster and Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), hosted a virtual event about why politics and policy matter.

Screenshot of Professor Sarah Main and Dr Peter Bonfield at online event

Dr Peter Bonfield, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Westminster, opened the lecture, introducing Professor Main and her expertise to attendees and discussed her role at the University as Visiting Professor.

The event formed part of Professor Main’s aspirations to open a window for Westminster students on how public policy shapes the environment for their work and how they can shape it in return. Throughout the event, she gave examples of stories from her experience in creating policy change at the interface of research, innovation and Government to explore why politics and policy matter to students as the pioneers of tomorrow on their journey from innovation to public good. Each of the stories highlighted the importance of evidence, having strong data sources to underpin what you want to say, the importance of impartiality and relationships.

Following Professor Main’s address, attendees were invited to ask her questions in a dedicated Q&A session with Dr Bonfield, which included questions about the effects of COVID-19 on the perceptions of science in Government and which stakeholders have the most impact on policy-making.

Professor Izzet Kale, Research Director at the College of Design, Creative and Digital Industries, closed the event, thanking Sarah for sharing her experience and for allowing students at Westminster to learn from her expertise. He also gave his thanks to the Royal Academy of Engineering for making Professor Main’s Visiting Professorship at Westminster possible.

Professor Sarah Main is the Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) and represents the interests of CaSE members in the media and in high-level discussions with government ministers, parliamentary committees, chief scientific advisors and senior civil servants.

She trained as a molecular biologist and became an independent researcher, working with Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council in London and Cambridge. She later worked in strategy and funding at the Medical Research Council, and in Government on leverage of investment from public funding of science and research for a Treasury review of public spending.

Talking about the event, Professor Main said: “It was a real pleasure to give the lecture and introduce myself to new friends and colleagues at the University of Westminster. I hope the talk will stimulate ideas on how we can work together over the next few years to help bring the perspective of politics and policy-making to students.”

Watch the full event recording on YouTube.

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