Norwich young scientist invited to Commons for research awards

Philippa Borrill, young scientist at the John Innes Centre Philippa Borrill, young scientist at the John Innes Centre

Thursday, March 20, 2014
3:09 PM

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Norwich scientist Philippa Borrill was selected from more than 220 researchers from across the country to make a presentation to MPs at the House of Commons.

The PhD student at the John Innes Centre on Norwich Research Park gave a summary of her research to members of the parliamentary and scientific select committee.

Philippa Borrill, aged 24, and comes from Swindon, Wiltshire, was one of 60 finalists in the biology category of the annual awards. Her presentation was on the nutrient content, yield and ageing in wheat. Her research was entered into the biological and biomedical sciences session of the competition. Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives £3,000, while silver and bronze receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively.

She said that she had been excited to be able to “communicate my research to a wide audience including MPs who influence the direction of scientific research in the UK.”

On her first trip to the Commons, she had also met Norwich South MP Simon Wright, who had expressed interest in the direction of her research work.

Andrew Miller, MP, chairman of the parliamentary and scientific committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.

Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society of Biology, said: “Scientists and politicians both have major roles in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, from climate change to food security. SET for Britain is a rare opportunity for politicians to meet some of our most promising young scientists and understand their work.

“It is important that MPs make policy decisions informed by evidence, and a greater mutual understanding between MPs and scientists will improve this,” he added.

John Pierce, chief bioscientist of the sponsors, BP, said: “Each year we look forward to seeing examples of outstanding science and engineering from our next generation of scientists in the UK.

“The future of science, engineering and technology in the UK is both challenging and exciting. As a major UK recruiter and investor in research and development, we believe it is essential to nurture the best technical talent.”

The select committee runs the event with the country’s leading scientific organisations and sponsors include King’s Lynn-based Germains Seed Technology with the aim of encouraging early career researchers.

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