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March 11, 2013 / Hannah

Meeting African Academies representatives (and some more interviewing)

Last week Chandy Nath, POST’s deputy director, met delegates from some of the African science academies who are visiting the UK as part of the Royal Society Pfizer African Academies Programme. During my internship at the Royal Society in 2010 I became friendly with Ruth Cooper, a senior policy advisor for the Royal Society who oversees their involvement in the programme. When I saw that Chandy had arranged to meet her and her visitors for lunch I asked if I could possibly come along, and she generously agreed.

It was lovely to see Ruth again and catch up with news from the Science Policy Centre. It was also a privilege to meet representatives from the Ghanaian, Tanzanian and Ethiopian academies of science. On a walk round the Palace of Westminster, I was able to chat to them about what POST fellows do, hear from them about how their scientific academies differ from the Royal Society, and discuss the representation of science in government in our different countries. And how we cope with the cold and rainy UK weather!

Aside from this and PMQs, last week was pretty much taken up with interviews. They’ve all been hugely informative and interesting and I’ve felt that I’m getting a much better grasp of the topic and the main themes I’ll need to focus on for the POSTnote. This is largely thanks to the interviewees: everyone I’ve spoken to so far has not only been extremely well informed and able to explain things clearly, but also incredibly friendly and generous with their time. It’s made the interview stage of my research (which can be tiring) a real pleasure. My most recent interviewee was so enagaging that we spent a good ten minutes discussing extreme events and climate change before I remembered that we’d actually met to talk about internet surveillance!

Unbelieveably however, it’s now been a month since I started at POST (it’s absolutely flown by), so this week I’m coming to the end of the interviews and starting to think about drafting. It’s a little daunting to think about condensing everything I’ve learned into four pages, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in…


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