Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell has visited The University of Manchester to learn more about wonder material graphene.
Mrs Powell was hosted by Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, one of the University’s graphene researchers, and also met University Vice-Chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell and graphene Nobel Laureate Sir Kostya Novoselov.
The visit is part of a MP-scientists pairing scheme set up by the Royal Society to build bridges between parliamentarians and some of the best scientists in the UK.
It is an opportunity for MPs to become better informed about science issues and for scientists to understand how they can influence science policy. Over 200 pairs of scientists and MPs have taken part in the scheme since it was launched in 2001.
As part of the scheme, Dr Vijayaraghavan spent a week in Westminster with Mrs Powell last year.
Mrs Powell was given a tour of existing graphene facilities, before seeing the building site of the £61m National Graphene Institute (NGI).
Set to open in early 2015, the NGI will see scientists and commercial partners working side by side to produce the graphene applications of the future. It is funded by £38m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £23m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Dr Vijayaraghavan said: “Having had a very interesting and rewarding time in Westminster last year, I am delighted to be able to welcome Lucy here to show us what we do at the University.
“Graphene is a fascinating area of research that everyone is talking about and it is great that such a prominent person is taking the time to see the world-class research we are doing.”
Mrs Powell added: “It was great to meet Aravind and to hear more about the interesting and pioneering work that it being done with graphene at the University of Manchester.
“The scheme gave me a chance to form a relationship with Aravind which I hope will continue into the future and also dialogue about the interesting work that is taking place in my constituency.”
As part of the scheme, electrical engineer Dr Alex Casson hosted Dr Matthew James, Civil Servant in Transport Security Strategy, Department for Transport, in January.