On 4 March 2015, Siobhan Gardiner, 25, a PhD student at Cranfield University, will visit the House of Commons to question MPs and ministers about science policy. Siobhan, in the School of Energy, Environment & Agrifood, has been chosen to attend Voice of the Future, an event organised by the Society of Biology.

Siobhan was chosen to represent the Society of Biology on the strength of her question:

“We have heard that the Home Secretary wants to force international students to immediately go home after graduation.  Do you agree that we should be looking to keep top STEM talent here in the UK?”

Dr Stephen Benn, the Society of Biology’s director of parliamentary affairs, describes the importance of Voice of the Future: “This is a unique event – in no other part of Parliament is the normal select committee format completely reversed so that MPs, the Minister and the Shadow Minister have to answer questions rather than ask them.”

“It is important that policy makers use reliable evidence in their decisions, and today’s young scientists and engineers will be a vital part of this in the future. This year’s event is particularly timely due to the approaching General Election.”

Young scientists and engineers will question the Science Minister, the Shadow Science Minister, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee about scientific issues that matter to them.

Siobhan says: “This is a great opportunity for early-career STEM professionals, and I am delighted to have been chosen. I am keen to hear the panel’s thoughts on the proposed plans of the home secretary to remove international students from the UK after graduation. Surely we want to keep top STEM talent here, especially if we’ve invested in training them?”

Voice of the Future 2015 is being held in the Boothroyd Room, a room which has heard Prime Ministers as well as eminent scientists and experts give evidence. However, this time the MPs’ committee seats will be occupied by young people and the MPs will sit in the witness seats ready to be grilled.

The event will be broadcast on Parliament TV.

Siobhan Gardiner
Siobhan Gardiner

Notes for editors

Voice of the Future is an annual event organised by the Society of Biology. Voice of the future 2015 will include up to six representatives of the following organisations: the Society of Biology, the Institute of Physics, the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Biochemical Society, the British Pharmacological Society, the Society for Experimental Biology, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society for Applied Microbiology, the Society for Endocrinology, the Geological Society and the Society for General Microbiology.

The Society of Biology is a single unified voice for biology: advising Government and influencing policy; advancing education and professional development; supporting our members, and engaging and encouraging public interest in the life sciences. The Society represents a diverse membership of individuals, learned societies and other organisations.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Health Doctoral Training Centre

This higher research degree is associated with our Health Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The Health DTC has an international reputation in carrying out cutting-edge research in biosensors/biomarkers, diagnostics, smart materials, bioinformatics, food quality, nutrition and safety, toxico-genomics and translational medicine. 

A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside the generic core skills training programme, provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities with Cranfield’s wider research community.