A new scheme is being set up to provide independent expert information on science-related issues to the Scottish Parliament. Recognising that MSPs are increasingly faced with challenging decisions on complex matters in areas such as healthcare, the environment, and energy, The Scottish Parliament Science Information Service is being launched today (Thursday 17 September) at The Scottish Parliament. Deputy Presiding Officer, Murray Tosh MSP and Sarah Boyack MSP, Convener of the Environment and Rural Development Committee are expected to join MSPs and Scientists as the scheme is explained and discussed. The Scottish Parliament Science Information Service will seek to offer MSPs, Cross-party Committees and Researchers access to rapid, reliable and impartial information from leading experts.
The one year pilot scheme, which will offer facts and data on science, engineering and technology-related issues, is a collaborative initiative established by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) and the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), in association with The University of Edinburgh and the Institute of Physics in Scotland. Requests for information will be administered by staff at SPICe and by the Royal Society of Chemistry who will contact any of 52 Topic Co-ordinators, who are Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Topic Co-ordinators, who encompass a broad range of knowledge and expertise will direct inquiries to the most appropriate expert in the field.
RSE Vice President & Deputy Principal of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Andy Walker said:
As technology continues to advance and science impacts more and more on our daily lives, it is essential that our decision-makers have access to the best, impartial information available from top experts in the field. The Scottish Parliament Science Information Service is a collaborative scheme between The Royal Society of Chemistry, which deserves credit for taking the lead on this initiative and The Royal Society of Edinburgh. We are pleased to support the Scottish Parliament Information Centre and in turn MSPs. Providing a new communication channel for MSPs to make contact with leading scientists and technologists, drawing upon the goodwill and knowledge of these experts will be of significant support to Parliament.
This scheme relies largely on the goodwill of the Scientific and Technology-related communities in Scotland, as neither the Topic Co-ordinators, nor the Experts providing information will receive any payment for their services.
Declaration of Interests
Guidance from the RSE stipulates that all experts providing information to the Parliament via this scheme should declare any conflict of interest they may have before providing advice or information.