The MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme aims at enhancing mutual understanding and establishing a long-term, intensive cooperation between Members and researchers. STOA is currently organising the project for the 5th time.
The EP ran two rounds of a MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme, in 2007 and 2008. These were jointly organised and managed by STOA, on behalf of the EP, and the European Commission’s DG Research. In 2011, STOA decided to reintroduce the Pairing Scheme to further develop and improve its role in engaging and building relationships between European scientists and parliamentarians. The 2011 scheme took place over two stages and paired 13 MEPs who possessed both a thorough interest in science and who sit on relevant committees (such as ITRE and ENVI) with 12 scientists that were experienced in fields matching the areas of focus of the Members and also had an interest in the policy-making process within the EP. In 2015, during the 4th round of the project, 33 MEPs selected 33 researchers to be paired with. They met and worked together during the 'Brussels week' which took place from 25 to 27 January 2016. Check the video clip on the right to see what they said.
Current edition (2016)
The ‘Science meets Parliaments’ joint event will be organised, alongside the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and is scheduled to take place on 8 November 2016 in the EP. This launch event will mark the start of the 5th edition of the MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme and of the 'Brussels Week'.
Expert information on scientific and technological developments is crucial to MEPs’ policy-making role. Ensuring MEPs have regular access to reliable information is an essential part of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel’s mission. It is in this context that STOA is co-organising, with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), the 2016 'Science meets Parliaments' event on 8 November 2016.
This event will also see the launch of the 5th round of STOA’s MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme, which is being led by the First STOA Vice-Chair, Eva Kaili. A significant number of MEPs and scientists applied to take part in the scheme this year. Members have now completed their selection of scientists, resulting in a final list of 16 MEP-scientist pairs. During the ‘Brussels week’, taking place from 8 to 10 November 2016, the paired scientists will learn about the work of the European Parliament’s committees and research services, and will shadow their MEP counterparts in their daily activities. This activity is vital for both sides to highlight the areas where the partners’ knowledge and experience can be combined to feed into better legislation. Follow-up visits for MEPs to see their paired scientists at work will hopefully be agreed bilaterally during the scientists’ visit to Brussels.
The draft programme includes a lunchtime welcome session upon the scientists’ arrival at the European Parliament, hosted by Eva Kaili, followed by this year’s ‘Science meets Parliaments’ event. The scientists will then have the opportunity to listen to presentations by the European Parliament’s services, and to present their research activities in plenary. The first day will close with a networking reception for all participants, before MEPs and scientists start the shadowing activities.
On the second day, the scientists will begin to shadow the MEPs in their activities, including attending committee meetings. A World Science Café, a dynamic participatory session organised by the JRC, will follow, with scientists continuing their shadowing activities into the third day. Finally, a meeting to reflect on their experience will take place, before the scientists’ departure.
To keep up to date on the activities linked to this round of the ‘Science meets Parliaments’ initiative and MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme, see information on the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), or follow us on Twitter @EP_ThinkTank .
The relationship between scientific expertise and policy-making continues to develop and expand as scientific knowledge underpins many aspects of public policy and legislation, from healthcare and the ageing population to nanotechnology, food and energy production and climate change. Running the MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme is another example of how STOA works to enhance connections between policy and science.