Science and the Senedd/Gwyddoniaeth a’r Senedd

22 September 2020 17:00-18:30, United Kingdom

Online event
The Royal Society of Chemistry are pleased to announce that this event will be moving online. This web page will be updated over the coming weeks with more details. If you have any questions please contact us at

Online event

Following the Royal Society of Chemistry’s subsequent decision not to hold events for the remainder of this year, Science and the Senedd will now take the form of a webinar on Tuesday, 22nd September from 5.00pm to 6.30pm.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Designed to foster close relations with the National Assembly and the Welsh Government, Science and the Senedd is organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Welsh science and engineering community.

The theme will be: ‘Climate Science, Sustainability….and Covid-19’
Mary Gagen, Swansea University, United Kingdom

Mary Gagen is a Professor of Geography at Swansea University. Mary is a climate change scientist and her research focuses on the climate records stored in the rings of ancient trees, on exploring how environmental change is impacting forests and on climate science communication. A keen outreach scientist, Mary is a National Geographic Explorer, co-runs Swansea University’s Science for Schools Scheme and supports Swansea University’s Oriel Science centre project as well as regularly delivering pubic outreach talks, workshops and events.

Peter Halligan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, United Kingdom

Professor Halligan gained qualifications in psychology, philosophy and education at University College Dublin. A research psychologist and neuroscientist by background, he has worked in neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry and neuro-rehabilitation. In 1985, he moved from Ireland to work at Rivermead, a specialist NHS neuro-rehabilitation Centre in Oxford as a research psychologist while also perusing a PhD in neuropsychology. In 1987, he joined the Neuropsychology Unit at the Department of Clinical Neurology in Oxford University and in 1997 following a MRC Senior Research Fellowship award joined the Department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford. In 2000, he moved to Cardiff’s School of Psychology as a Distinguished Research Professor. In 2003, he became the founding Director of the Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) and later in 2006 Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies at Cardiff University. In 2012, he joined Universities Wales as Head of Strategic Futures as part of a 2 year secondment. From there he became Chief Executive of the Learned Society of Wales in 2015.
At Cardiff, he played a central role in establishing Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), Wales Research and Diagnostic Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Centre (PETIC), Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (WICN), the UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, the Cardiff Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar Series, School of Psychology MindArt project, the Haydn Ellis Distinguished Lecture Series and Cardiff’s University Research Institutes.
His own research has been reported widely in the national and international media including New York Times, Conversation, Economist, New Scientist, Guardian, Western Mail, BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, BBC Radio 4. He is Co-editor of the international journal Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, and has published over 200 papers including papers in Nature, BMJ, Lancet, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Trends in Cognitive Science and also edited 10 books.
He was a former Director of the British Neuropsychiatry Association, and is a member of QS World University Rankings Advisory Board and Science Advisory Council for Wales.
In 1993, he was awarded the British Psychological Society’s early career Spearman Medal for outstanding published research and in 2005 the BPS Presidents’ Award for outstanding contributions to psychology. He is recognized as a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Psychological Society of Ireland, Academy of Medical Sciences and Royal Society of Biology.
From 2010-2014, he was Chair and Academic lead of the Welsh Crucible, the all -Wales staff leadership programme for early career researchers. This flagship researcher development programme, showcased at the European Commission in Brussels, won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development in 2013.
In March 2018, he moved from the Learned Society of Wales to become the third Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, working with the Welsh Government.

Richard Lucas, Sêr Cymru Research Chair, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom

Professor Richard Lucas holds a Sêr Cymru Research Chair within the Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics (EOED) Research Group, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES), Aberystwyth University.  He has also held positions at the University of New South Wales Australia, the Australian Federal Government and Swansea University (UK). He has over 30 years of experience in quantifying and understanding the response of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems and environments to change (including that associated with climatic variation), through integration of Earth observation data.  Major achievements have included the development and implementation of methods for local to global characterisation, mapping and monitoring of land cover and change and forest (including mangrove) extent, biomass and structural attributes.  He currently leads the Living Wales project, which is providing a new approach to monitoring landscapes, in Wales and internationally, to support sustainable use of environments and reversal of ecosystem loss and degradation. He studied Biology and Geography (1983-1986) at the University of Bristol, where he also obtained his doctorate (1986-1989) and, in 2017, completed an Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management from the Australian Institute of Management, Sydney.

David Thomas, Pro Vice Chancellor, Bangor University, United Kingdom

David Thomas is the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Impact at Bangor University where he also holds the Chair of Marine Biology.  From 2013 to 2019 he was Director of the Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy and the Environment (  He is a member of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Science Committee.
He studied and did his PhD in Liverpool in the 1980s where he studied seaweed physiology, before spending 7 years in Germany working on oceanographic projects in the Antarctic, Arctic and Red Sea.  After returning to the UK in 1996 he established groups working on sea ice biogeochemistry, land-ocean interactions, and the production of biofuels from algal bioreactors.
From 2009 to 2013 he held an Academy of Finland Distinguished Professorship and spent 2.5 years living in Helsinki while working at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), where he still held a visiting research professorship until 2019.  In 2013 he also held a Chair in Arctic Marine Biology at Aarhus University, Denmark for 10 months.
He takes pride in conveying his science to non-specialist audiences, both in talks but also writing textbooks and books for non-academic audiences.  Over the years, he has become increasingly interested in the connections between observational biology and art and design.

Geertje van Keulen, Swansea University, United Kingdom


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