- To help scientists recognise the potential methods and structures through which they can feed their scientific knowledge to parliamentarians.
- To help practising research scientists understand the pressures under which MPs operate.
- To give MPs the opportunity to forge direct links with a network of practising research scientists.
- To give MPs the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the process of scientific understanding and topical research and ultimately to be able to bring this knowledge into better informed discussions and decision making.
But, as was mentioned in the comments over at Cosmic Variance, there’s nothing here about money: the Government (which, we certainly learned this week, is not the same thing as Parliament) provides most of the science funding in the UK, and of course many of us were there to understand -- and maybe manipulate to our own, pure-as-the-driven-snow, ends -- the funding system. Briefly, our research is funded through Research Councils such as, in my case, PPARC, which are part of the Office of Science and Technology, itself part of the Department of Trade and Industry, an arm of the Government; education per se is funded separately.