Science and Stormont 2021

18 October 2021 14:00-16:00, United Kingdom


Online event

Following the Royal Society of Chemistry’s subsequent decision not to hold events for the remainder of this year, Science and the Stormont will now take the form of a zoom webinar on 18th October 2021.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Designed to foster close relations with policy makers and key stakeholders, Science and Stormont is organised on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Northern Ireland science and engineering community.

The theme for this year will deal with aspects of climate change, ahead of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021.
Richard P. Allan, University of Reading, United Kingdom

I am professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading Department of Meteorology. My research is driven by the fundamental question: how much will Earth warm in the current century and what are the implications for the global water cycle, upon which societies and ecosystems depend? I use Earth Observation data to explore fluctuations in clouds, water vapour, rainfall and the Earth's radiative energy balance and use this information to assess the realism of climate prediction models and improve our understanding of the climate system. I am a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th assessment report (AR6)

Debbie Caldwell, Climate Commissioner for Belfast City Council, United Kingdom

Debbie Caldwell is the Climate Commissioner for Belfast City Council. She is an experienced climate change specialist with over 20 years’ experience working in international development. Debbie has led the design and delivery of climate initiatives in countries including Bangladesh, Nigeria and Rwanda. Debbie advised the Government of Rwanda for a number of years supporting the development of its national climate fund and leading a number of funding applications to international climate funds to help finance adaptation and mitigation investments in Rwanda including a Green City pilot project in Kigali. Last year, she coordinated the UK Bangladesh Climate partnership Forum ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties(COP26) in November 2021 and led a series of scoping studies to support the design of a planned £200 million (UK funded) climate and environment programme in Bangladesh. Debbie moved to Belfast in 2018 after 17 years living and working in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ethiopia. She co-chairs the Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board and the Climate Commission.

Marie Cowan, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland , United Kingdom

Dr Marie Cowan MRIA MIoD PGeo is the Director of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and a senior management board member at the British Geological Survey.
Marie is an elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy and works on its Geosciences and Geographical Sciences Committee, North-South Standing Committee, Higher Education Futures Group and founder member of the Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South project.
Marie leads the Governance working group of EuroGeoSurveys which represents 38 countries.
Marie is a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and holds an IoD diploma in Company Direction. Marie is also Professional Geologist with the Institute of Geologists of Ireland.
Marie is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group for Science and Technology and the NI Learned Societies and Professional Bodies Forum. 
Marie holds a 1st Class Hons. B.Sc. Geology and Ph.D. in Geology from the Queen’s University of Belfast. 

John Blair , Alliance Party MLA, United Kingdom

Alliance Party MLA, John Blair has been a member of Northern Ireland Assembly since 2018. He is the Party’s spokesperson for agriculture, environment and rural affairs.
John served on Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, including as Deputy Mayor in 2015/16, until he was appointed to the Assembly. John was also previously Councillor on Newtownabbey Council between 2011-2015.
A former civil servant who worked in Inland Fisheries, John is passionate about protecting our environment and empowering local people to help make Northern Ireland greener.
John has a well-known record of hard work across the South Antrim constituency on many issues including housing, roads, transport, health and well-being.

Paul Hart, Expedition Leader - Antarctic Quest 21, United Kingdom

Paul Hart has been leading expeditions across the globe for over 35 years and has operated in some of the most demanding environments known to man, from the jungles, to the deserts, to Himalayas to the Polar Regions. Paul lead the first man-haul crossing on the Antarctic Peninsula in 2012 to conduct science and exploration, and to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott reaching the South Pole. This year Paul returns to the Antarctic to commemorate that other Polar hero, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the 100th Anniversary of his final ‘Quest’ Expedition of 1921/22. In the Spirit of Shackleton Paul and his small team will head into untrodden areas to conduct science into climate change and sustainability. 

Steve Aiken OBE MLA, South Antrim for the Ulster Unionist Party, United Kingdom

Dr Steve Aiken OBE serves as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for South Antrim for the Ulster Unionist Party. He is the Chair of the Committee for Finance, and Chairs the All Party Group for STEM. He is an active member of the British Irish and Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations and is a board member of Christian Aid Ireland.
Steve comes from a diverse background of business and government service. Following a thirty-year career in the Royal Navy where he served in many senior operational roles, including commanding two nuclear powered submarines, Steve was the founding Chief Executive of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and a CEO at a major University. Steve holds a PhD and MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge and a MA from KCL in Defence Studies.

Helen Pain, CEO Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom

Helen joined the Royal Society of Chemistry after completing a degree and PhD in Chemistry. She is a Chartered Chemist and a Chartered Scientist. At the RSC, she has led many of its strategic functions becoming Deputy CEO in 2015. Helen is a champion for the profession and has commissioned bold campaigns such as Breaking the Barriers and our work to support Technicians.

In 2018, Helen was appointed as Chair of the Science Council, a UK organisation for the advancement of the science profession. She took up the role of Acting CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry in January 2020 and was appointed Chief Executive in June 2021.

Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin, United Kingdom

Anna Davies is Professor and Chair of Geography, Environment and Society at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where she directs the Environmental Governance Research Group. Widely published in the fields of geography, environmental policy and sustainability, Anna is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and an elected Governing Board member of the International Science Council.

Named Irish Researcher of the Year in 2018 by the Irish Research Council, in 2020 Anna was an inaugural recipient of the ERC Public Engagement Award for her project SHARECITY which is exploring the practice and sustainability potential of urban ICT-mediated food sharing. A Board Member of the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Anna is a founding member of Future Earth’s Knowledge Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production and the inaugural Chair of Future Earth Ireland.

She is a Chair of the Board of The Rediscovery Centre in Dublin, Ireland’s National Centre for the Circular Economy and a creative space connecting people, ideas and resources for greener living in Ireland and she has advised the Irish government as a member of Ireland’s National Climate Change Advisory Council (2015-2021). 

Zoom Webinar

Zoom Webinar, United Kingdom

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