Science and the Parliament 2019

20 November 2019, Edinburgh, United Kingdom


Designed to foster close relations with policymakers and key stakeholders, Science and the Parliament is organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Scottish science and engineering community.

This 19th annual event, a firm fixture in the Scottish parliamentary calendar, will be held once again at Dynamic Earth, Holyrood.
This year’s theme will focus on “Sustainability” with speakers including Sheila Rowan the Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham MSP Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and a panel of MSPs discussing science and the climate emergency. We are currently confirming the rest programme for the event.

Science and the Parliament will comprise an exhibition - an excellent opportunity for our leading scientific societies, professional bodies, and universities to demonstrate their work - together with an impressive speaker programme of keynote addresses and panel discussions, including one with MSPs representing the main political parties. The day will end with an early evening reception.

Caring Responsibilities 

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities, for more information please refer to the ‘bursaries’ section on this page.

David Cole Hamilton, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom

David Cole-Hamilton is Vice-President of the European Chemical Society (EuChemS) having been President from 2013-7. On behalf of EuChemS he has led a team developing a new version of the Periodic Table highlighting element availability and vulnerability as well as which elements can come from conflict minerals and which appear in smart phones.

Following degrees (BSc and PhD) at Edinburgh University, David worked with Nobel Laureate, Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson at Imperial College, where he developed a strong interest in organometallic chemistry and especially homogeneous catalysis. He moved to Liverpool University (Lecturer and Senior Lecturer) then the University of St. Andrews in 1985 (Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus in 2014).

He has won a number of prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry as well as 5 prizes for teaching. In 2017 he was awarded the Alwin Mittasch Prize of the German Catalysis Society and was made a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Edinburgh Western and the Liberal Democrat Health Spokesman, United Kingdom

Alex Cole-Hamilton is the MSP for Edinburgh Western and the Liberal Democrat Health Spokesman. Prior to becoming an MSP in 2016, Alex worked as a children’s charity worker, helping to bring about new laws allowing looked after children to stay in care up to the age of 21, receiving several national awards in recognition of this achievement. In the Scottish Parliament, he is passionate about keeping mental health, older people, families and social justice at the top of the political agenda. Alex lives in Edinburgh with his wife Gill and their 3 children.

Gillian Martin MSP, Aberdeenshire East , United Kingdom

Gillian Martin was elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament to represent Aberdeenshire East in 2016 after becoming involved previously in the independence campaign and Women for Independence. In her first two years as an MSP, Gillian was a member of the Education Committee and Economy Committee where she took part in vital work looking at the gender pay gap. Gillian was the first of the 2016 intake to pass a Members Bill; her Safety on School Transport Bill which ensures seatbelts are available on all school buses. In September 2018, Gillian was appointed as the Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee which has been leading on the Climate Change Bill. Prior to her role as an MSP, Gillian lectured in Television Production at North East Scotland College and ran her own video production company.

Mark Ruskell MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife , United Kingdom

Mark Ruskell was re-elected as an MSP in May 2016, having served as an MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife between 2003 and 2007. During this time, he sat on the environment committee and introduced legislative proposals on climate targets and GM crops. In this session he is a member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee. Mark recently launched a member’s bill on reducing speed limits across Scotland that achieved significant NGO and charity support but ultimately did not pass the parliament.

Mark was elected as the first ever Green councillor for Stirling in the 2012 local council elections and served until 2017. Mark did not seek re-election to Stirling Council following his success at Holyrood in 2016.  Outside of politics Mark has managed community development projects, worked in the renewables sector and for conservation bodies in Scotland. He lives near Doune with his young family.

Claudia Beamish MSP, South Scotland , United Kingdom

Claudia Beamish has been the MSP for South Scotland since 2011. She is the Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Climate Change, Environment, and Land Reform, and sits on the Scottish Parliament committee of the same title. Claudia is committing to fighting for climate justice, through a just transition to a net zero emissions for Scotland and better recognition of our global emissions responsibility. In her portfolio, she is also passionate about land justice, marine protection, and bettering uptake of active travel. Claudia's other Parliamentary interests include women's issues, rural challenges, Palestine and mental health support.

Maurice Golden MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary, United Kingdom

Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Conservatives since May 2016. I serve as the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Chief Whip and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change and Land Reform. Previously, I held the position of Deputy Convenor of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee.
Prior to being elected, I led the Circular Economy Programme for Zero Waste Scotland having joined the organisation in 2011. I have fifteen years’ experience working in the waste and energy sectors and am a Chartered Waste Manager and approved CIWM Waste Smart Trainer for the UK.
I am a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in recognition of a number of studies I have led to promote design in Scotland.
My recent portfolio paper sets the Scottish Conservative vision to provide local leadership for our global challenge to tackle climate change and build a circular economy

Rhys Charles, Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group (CERIG), United Kingdom

Rhys has a background in chemistry, materials engineering and waste management. He is a named researcher on the EPSRC funded ACCEPTED project which aims to create printable PV with optimised lifecycles for circular economy and secondary raw materials, remanufacturing and recycling processes to facilitate this. He is co-opted to the RSC ESED Council to co-ordinate division ‘Future Wastes’ activities to mitigate materials criticality for emerging technologies. His research has investigated methods to increase CRM recovery from WEEE for retention within a circular economy; and development of circular strategies for solar systems for rural Sub-Saharan Africa in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Rhys worked in waste management for local government and is a member of the Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group (CERIG) for Wales. Rhys’ EngD was conducted in industry investigating CRM recovery and exploitation of WEEE for circular economy, and included WRAP’s ‘Critical Materials Recovery – Wales’ trial

Lesley Yellowlees, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Lesley Yellowlees completed both her BSc in Chemical Physics and her PhD in Inorganic Electrochemistry at the University of Edinburgh. After completing research positions in Brisbane, Australia and Glasgow she returned to an academic position in Edinburgh in 1986 and gained a personal chair in Inorganic Electrochemistry in 2005. Her research interests are inorganic electrochemistry, renewable energy, public engagement of science and promoting women in science. Lesley was Head of the School of Chemistry and then Vice Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, retiring in 2017. She was President of the Royal Society of Chemistry from 2012-14, their first woman president in 175 years. She currently sits on the Court of Edinburgh Napier University and on the SFC Board and chairs their Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee. She was awarded an MBE in 2005 for services to science, a CBE for services to Chemistry in 2014 and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012.

Ian Menzies, Education Scotland, United Kingdom

Ian Menzies is a Senior Education Officer within Education Scotland and has lead responsibility for the science curriculum and Learning for Sustainability. Within Education Scotland, he also leads on the implementation of the national STEM Education and Training Strategy and has oversight of the Raising Aspirations in Science Education Programme and the Improving Gender Balance and Equalities programme. Ian supports the work of the eight Regional STEM Advisors who work in close partnership with local authorities and the regional improvement collaboratives.
Before joining Education Scotland Ian taught Physics and Maths in Zambia, Malawi and Scotland and was the Schools Education Officer for SCIAF, the Scottish Aid agency.

Colin Graham, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Colin was Professor of Experimental Geochemistry at Edinburgh University until 2012, working on the application of experimental and micro-analytical techniques to the study of solid-fluid interactions in the Earth’s crust.  He was elected as a Fellow of the RSE in 1992. He has worked for 20 years to develop the understanding of the Earth, its environment and resources in school curricula, founding the Scottish Earth Science Education Forum in 2000. He contributed to the development of science outcomes in Curriculum for Excellence and the SQA qualifications (Environmental Science), and served on the Higher Order Skills Excellence Group and the Science and Engineering Education Advisory Group.  He has worked on the development and implementation of interdisciplinary learning across the curriculum as a member of the RSE Education Committee, the STEM Education Committee and the Learned Societies Group for STEM Education, and led the organization of the RSE’s 2019 conference on Interdisciplinary Learning.

Margaret MacLean MBE, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

Mandy MacLean completed both her BSc and PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh. Previous research positions have been at Syntex Pharma, The Universities of Florida, Cambridge UK and Glasgow.  As a Distinguished Professor of Pulmonary Pharmacology at The University of Strathclyde, her research focuses on pulmonary arterial hypertension. In 2013 she was elected as a Fellow of the RSE and is now a Trustee of Council and Vice-President of the RSE (Life Sciences).  Mandy received an MBE in 2010 for her career and public engagement activities. In 2018 she was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was appointed the Scottish Champion for the Academy of Medical Sciences. She has won several research awards including the 2017 Reynold Spector Award for Clinical Pharmacology from ASPET, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship the British Pharmacological Society AstraZeneca Prize for Women in Pharmacology


Grants for Carers

You can apply for up to a maximum of £1000/year to assist with additional financial costs that you incur for care usually provided by you whilst you attend a chemistry related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event.
Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if:
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current).
These grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities.
These grants have been supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.
Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS, United Kingdom

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