STEM for Britain

STEM for Britain, a poster competition at Westminster, aims to strengthen the dialogue between Parliament and the science community and gives early-career researchers the opportunity to present their work in London. For the Biological and Biomedical session, 60 early career researchers from all over the UK were shortlisted from hundreds of applications. The School of Biology was well represented with three PhD students, Faith Jones, Barbara Klump and Ginny Greenway, from the Centre of Biological Diversity being selected to present their work in Parliament. The students enjoyed preparing a poster for a lay audience as it challenged them to present the key messages and broader implications of the work in a way to engage non-experts. Due to unforeseen circumstances (the Brexit debate in the House of Commons took place at the same time as the Biological and Biomedical session), fewer MPs were able to attend the event than anticipated. Nevertheless, it was an excellent experience to showcase the work to a wide variety of people, amongst them expert judges (recognised senior biologists from a wide variety of subject backgrounds), other presenters and the media. Barbara’s poster, entitled ‘crafty crows know their tools’, received positive feedback on the day, a lot of attention on social media (see twitter account @STEM4Brit) and was mentioned in the session’s closing speech. Barbara had very inspiring and challenging discussions about the work and attending the poster presentation in Parliament was a good opportunity to explain her research to a wide variety of different audiences. Barbara is grateful to the Public Engagement and Recruitment Committee of the School of Biology for funding the trip to London. Pictures of the event can be found at http://www.setforbritain.org.uk/gallery/browse.asp?dir=2017+biosciences.