Brookes scientist visits politicians in Westminster

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Parliament

Professor Nigel Crook from Oxford Brookes University is spending a week in the House of Commons in Westminster this week, as part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science with support from the Government Office for Science.

During his visit, Nigel will shadow Dr Andrew Kaye and learn about his work at the Government Officer for Science. As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, Professor Crook will also attend a mock Select Committee. 

The visit will provide Nigel with a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how his research can be used to make evidence-based decisions. It will also give Dr Kaye the opportunity to investigate the science behind his decisions and improve their access to scientific evidence. 

I am keen to find out how research into the development of new robotic technologies might feature more strongly in government policy, and how policy can strengthen the UK’s industry base in this area.

Professor Nigel Crook, Head of the Department of Computing and Communication Technologies, Oxford Brookes University

The week began with a reception in parliament where Professor Brian Cox OBE, FRS, will explain why policy makers and researchers must work together to ensure the UK’s excellence science is used to improve people’s lives and tackle global challenges. 

Professor Nigel Crook said: “I wanted to take part in the scheme because I am keen to find out how research into the development of new robotic technologies might feature more strongly in government policy, and how policy can strengthen the UK’s industry base in this area. 

“I am also interested in seeing how the ethical concerns that people have about robots are being take into account by government.”

Nigel is the Head of the Department of Computing and Communication Technologies at Oxford Brookes University and is a leading academic in Artificial Intelligence with 30 years of experience as a lecturer in Computer Science. He is heavily involved in the international research community, including working as an Expert Reviewer and Evaluator for the European Commission for more than 15 years. His research interests include human-robot interaction, social robotics, embodied conversational agents and biologically inspired machine learning. 

The Royal Society’s pairing scheme, which started in 2001, aims to build bridges between parliamentarians, civil servants and some of the best scientists in the UK.

Andrew will get hands on experience of robotics and artificial intelligence when he visits Nigel at Oxford Brookes University next year. 

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society said: “Expert input can help decision-makers to respond to unpredictable, global challenges like pandemics as well as the more everyday problems like how to provide affordable care for an ageing population. 
“By working closely with the research community on their doorstep, UK decision-makers can draw on the best innovative thinking around the world to inform their policymaking. 

“The Royal Society pairing scheme, now in its 16th year, gives parliamentarians, civil servants and scientists the chance to build long-term relationships to ensure that excellent research and innovation taking place in the UK is used to improve people’s lives.”