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Reflecting and Celebrating: Takeaways from AAAS Visit to the United Kingdom

This November, a delegation from AAAS traveled to the United Kingdom to celebrate an important anniversary and meet with several partners in London. The delegation was led by Dr. Sudip Parikh, CEO of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals, and included Andrew Black, AAAS chief of staff and chief public affairs officer, Dr. Kim Montgomery, AAAS director of international affairs and science diplomacy, and Katie Garner, program assistant for international affairs and science diplomacy at AAAS.

It was a fruitful trip that included a celebration to mark 30 years of AAAS Science International, a strategic meeting with partners at the Royal Society, and check-ins with several other partners in the area, including the Government Office for Science (GO-Science); Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT); UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); and leaders working to institutionalize science expertise into policymaking in the UK Parliament.

 

1. 30th Anniversary of AAAS Science International

Large group of people standing in front of a AAAS banner

 

AAAS Science International (ASI), established in 1993, provides editorial and business presence in the UK and Europe for the Science family of journals. While in the UK, the group traveled to Cambridge and spent a day meeting with staff, followed by a celebratory reception and dinner to mark this special occasion.

In his remarks at the event, Parikh noted that ASI is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the same year that AAAS is celebrating its 175th, and our UK partners at the Royal Society are celebrating their 363rd. It is an excellent reminder that each milestone counts and is a great time to set aspirations for the future.

 

2. Meetings with Royal Society, UKRI, GO-Science and DSIT

Logos for various organizations based in the United Kingdom

 

While in London, AAAS met with both long-term and new strategic partners. We had a great meeting with the Royal Society and thanked them for their collaboration and generosity in hosting us. It was also a pleasure to see Dame Ottoline Leyser, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). This was an excellent chance to discuss steps taken toward more equity in STEM, as well as how scientific organizations could experiment with different funding models.

Additionally, the group met with new partners, including Dame Angela McLean, the chief scientific adviser to the UK Government at the Government Office for Science (GO-Science), where we discussed research security and science diplomacy. Also, the delegation met with Alexandra Jones, director general for science, innovation and growth at the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT). It was great to hear about the vision for this new department and find ways to connect.

 

3. Meetings with Lord Des Browne

Five people standing in front of UK Parliament building

 

Last but not least, we were thrilled to meet once more with Lord Des Browne, member of the House of Lords and former UK defense secretary, and Sir Mark Welland, professor at the University of Cambridge, with whom we were able to discuss the excellent achievements of AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) – and whether something similar could be implemented in the UK. Thank you for the great hospitality and the interesting Parliament tour!

 

Acknowledgements

This piece only outlines highlights of the AAAS trip to the UK and is not a full recap of events. The delegation is grateful to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with us, and all of those who joined us to celebrate the achievements of ASI. More thanks are also in order for our kind hosts at The Royal Society, with whom we look forward to continuing our partnership with for many years to come.

Authors

Kimberly Montgomery

Director, International Affairs and Science Diplomacy

Katie Garner

Program Assistant for International Affairs and Science Diplomacy

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