RSC brings science to Stormont for the first time

15 October 2012

The Royal Society of Chemistry will put science firmly on the Northern Ireland Assembly's agenda at the inaugural Science and Stormont event in Belfast today.

Science and Stormont 2012 will bring scientists and engineers together with the members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive to champion innovation as a driver of economic growth in Northern Ireland and to strengthen links between the scientific and political communities.

The event will feature discussions on the aerospace industry, global food security and the potential for Northern Ireland to be the UK's next Silicon Valley. These will be followed by a question and answer session with a panel of MLAs, including Basil McCrea (UUP), Sammy Douglas (DUP), Phil Flanagan (Sinn Féin), Joe Byrne (SDLP) and Steve Agnew (Green).

Those attending the event will also have the opportunity to engage with representatives from the UK's main learned societies and key professional bodies at the Science and Stormont exhibition that will take place alongside the main event. The exhibition will feature Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University, as well as other key scientific institutions including Sentinus, W5 and the Northern Ireland Science Park.

Basil McCrea MLA is the sponsoring Assembly Member for the event. Commenting on the importance of science in stimulating economic growth, he said: "Science and technology is a key driver for our economy in Northern Ireland and it is important for politicians and business to engage together.

"It is vital that we put a focus on the knowledge economy that exists in Northern Ireland today and that we promote innovation to further develop that sector."

The RSC has been the leading voice for science in Northern Ireland and is heading up the campaign to secure a Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the Northern Ireland Assembly, in line with the other devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales. The RSC also administers the Northern Ireland Assembly's All Party Group on Science and Technology, which is chaired by Basil McCrea MLA.

In recognition of Northern Ireland's vibrant science community, the RSC has chosen Science and Stormont 2012 to launch an exciting new initiative.

175 Faces of Chemistry is a celebration of diversity and inclusion in science. It will become an online multi-media collection of personal stories from across the diverse chemical sciences community. It will be developed over 175 weeks in the lead up to the RSC's upcoming 175th anniversary, on 23 February 2016.

The aim is to share the inspirational stories of individuals who have made significant contributions to science, and who break many of the stereotypes that exist in the image of science. 

RSC President Professor Lesley Yellowlees, who will announce 175 Faces of Chemistry in Stormont today, said: "I'm thrilled to be announcing this initiative here in Belfast today.

"The RSC is proud to be taking an active role in the science community in Northern Ireland. The practitioners, supporters and champions who belong to this community are wonderfully diverse and I'm sure many of Northern Ireland's talented scientists will make up some of these 175 people."

Related Link

175 Faces of Chemistry

As part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 175th anniversary celebrations, we will be recognising 175 diverse chemical scientists, as nominated by the community

Contact and Further Information

Victoria Steven
Media Relations Executive
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7440 3322