Science and the Senedd 2022

Posted on August 10, 2022   by Issy Centeleghe

On 17 May 2022, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) held their annual event 'Science and the Senedd' that works to connect Welsh decision makers with the scientific community. Here, Microbiology Society Champion Issy Centeleghe from Cardiff University reflects on her experience representing the Society at this event.


On 17 May 2022 the RSC held their annual Science and the Senedd event; this year’s theme looked towards building our future. The event aims to bring together the Welsh Parliament and Government with both policy makers and scientists to enhance research and innovation in Wales. I went along to help the Microbiology Society with their exhibition stand for the day as one of the Welsh Champions.

The event started in the Senedd, with a warm welcome from all the exhibitors, including leading Welsh organisations such as Techniquest and M-SParc. We were able to have insightful chats with many lovely people, including other researchers from Cardiff University, other exhibitors, and politicians from the Welsh Government.

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© Issy Centeleghe

Katie (Policy and Engagement Officer) and I on the Microbiology Society stand.

All attendees then moved to the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, where we were given a short welcome from Paul Lewis, Chief Operating Officer at the RSC. The afternoon started off with a talk from Abigail Phillips, Head of Innovation, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources in the Welsh Government, followed by an interesting panel session from Rick Delbridge, Professor of Organizational Analysis, Cardiff University; Kellie Beirne, Chief Executive, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and Nia Roberts, Innovation Consultant. One thing that really stood out for me from the panel discussion was the passion Nia Roberts has, not only for empowering women in science, but also for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) generally and encouraging children to get involved in STEM subjects. This really resonated with me as a STEM ambassador, woman in science and someone who loves doing outreach work. She delivered an engaging talk and discussion points that I believe everyone in the audience will have gone home thinking about.

After a short break with delicious Welsh cakes, two PhD students presented a short summary of their projects. James Bain, Cardiff University is looking into the impact of hydrogen on the resilience of gas turbines for power generation. Fellow Society Champion, Eleanor Furness, Aberystwyth University followed. Eleanor spoke about her project on the cold-adaptation strategies of microbes in cryospheric regions. She is using a combination of sequencing and bioinformatic analyses to investigate the mechanisms behind cold adaptation of certain microbial species.

The second panel session included discussions from Professor Sarah Main, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE); Olivia Harrison, Learned Society of Wales and Dean Cook, Innovate UK. Closing remarks were made by Paul Lewis before we all headed back to the Senedd for the evening speeches. Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government, and David Rees, Deputy Presiding Officer and Chair of the Cross-Party Group on STEM, gave some final remarks. It was an extremely successful day and was so interesting to hear about the link between policy and science. As a researcher in a lab, we often don’t hear about policy decisions, or have influence on the decisions being made. I have now made some great contacts and can’t wait for the next event with Microbiology Society!

For more information on how you can get involved with the Microbiology Society, please visit our website.