The MASTS Graduate School is a pan-Scotland initiative which provides education and training to the MASTS student community. This training includes both technical and core skills to ensure that MASTS graduate students have the full complement of skills required to achieve the best in their future careers.
Feedback from the MASTS Grad School Policy Day by Raeanne Miller:
I was at the MASTS ‘Meet the Policymakers’ day last week, and got some fantastic insight into just how much influence we can have as scientists into the policy making process. A few interesting items:
- The Scottish Parliament has a fantastic website. If you click on the ‘get involved’ tab, you can see all of the current consultations which are ongoing, as well as follow current business ongoing in Parliament on twitter or facebook. Many of the subcommittees are also on twitter – the Economy, Energy, and Tourism Committee does, for instance (probably the most relevant to Renewables)
- The Economy, Energy, and Tourism twitter feed is actually produced by the Committee Clerks, who seem to be the most important people to try to ‘influence’. The clerks are the folks who gather evidence, produce briefings, and do most, if not all of the background work for MSPs. They also post all of the papers for upcoming meetings on the web, as well as reports of meetings which have already occurred.
- In many cases, ‘Calls for Evidence’ are a great place for scientists and researchers to contribute. This does not need to be daunting, and you do not need to be a professor to contribute – last week they were encouraging PhD students to contribute if they have something relevant to add. Essentially, it is rare that they get ‘unbiased’, ‘independent’ evidence, and the Clerks really value the contributions they get from academics – so go on, respond to a call for evidence!
o As a side note, I believe Lucy Greenhill (SAMS) has done this, and on the back of it was asked to give evidence in Parliament to the Energy Committee – something with really fantastic impact
- You can find out about what Parliamentary Business is going on on the Scottish Parliament website, and by an RSS feed, sent straight to your email – this is a good way to know what’s going on. If there’s business that interests you, and you’d like to go to a committee meeting, you can! Tickets are free, but must be collected at a desk – and you can go and sit in on Parliamentary Business
o We were lucky enough to sit in on Fergus Ewing giving evidence about Westminster’s plans to reduce subsidies for onshore wind last week –very topical, and very interesting!
o The schedule is also on the website: www.scottish.parliament.uk
- The RSS feed can be found on the homepage, on the right-hand side, under the ‘keeping up to date’ tab. There is one for business bulletins (what’s happening at parliament), and on Current Consultations, where you can find out about ongoing parliamentary consultations.
The main message was that we really should be taking opportunities to engage in this way more – whether you’re a PhD student or a PI. It’s really important that researchers contribute to this process, and the Committee Clerks would really encourage us to engage.