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by Tom Freeman
08 May 2019
MSPs to link with young academics in RSE pairing scheme

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MSPs to link with young academics in RSE pairing scheme

A group of MSPs are to link up with young academics in an attempt to encourage evidence-based policy making, the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has announced.

As part of the RSE’s Young Academy of Scotland, the young people will shadow MSPs in their work and vice versa, to “build bridges” to future relationships.

The MSPs involved are Conservatives Liz Smith and Finlay Carson, Labour’s Anas Sarwar, Scottish Green Andy Wightman and the SNP’s Jenny Gilruth.

The shadowing programme will begin on Thursday with five young people in the fields of marine science, evolutionary biology, research development, classics and tourism.

A similar scheme was piloted at Westminster by the Royal Society of London.

Sir Paul Grice, chief executive of the Scottish Parliament, said: “Policymakers must gain expert input on the decisions they make and having collaborative relationships with researchers and professionals who are not only leaders in their field, but also understand how policy develops allows them to do this.

“I am delighted that this new pairing scheme will facilitate long-term relationships between parliamentarians and young leaders and I look forward to seeing the results of their shared experiences.”

Professor Andy Gardner, the YAS member who led the development of this pairing scheme, said: “When policymakers and experts work together, policy outcomes are more rigorous, relevant and informed. 

“In establishing this scheme, the RSE Young Academy of Scotland hopes to foster lasting relationships between parliamentarians and young leaders to ensure that the best evidence and expertise informs policy decisions that affect the lives of Scotland’s people.”

It is hoped the scheme will become an annual programme.

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