Skip to main content

19 June 2023

Make your science accessible: King's climate scientist's advice to researchers

Dr Tamsin Edwards urged researchers who want to engage with the UK Parliament to focus on communicating their research to the public.

Parliament and Big Ben

Climate expert Dr Tamsin Edwards encouraged colleagues and early career researchers to focus on communicating their research to the public in jargon-free language if they aim to work with the Parliament to inform scrutiny, legislation and debate.

Dr Edwards, who is currently working with the UK Parliament as a Thematic Research Lead on Climate and Environment, said that Parliamentary staff often seek to work with academics who are effective at communicating technical research to the public.

This is something that comes up time and time again – communication skills. They [UK Parliament] need academics who can explain what they do to a general audience. They want demonstrable experience of public engagement – through public talks, media interviews, blogs or Twitter.

Dr Tamsin Edwards, Reader in Climate Change

Dr Edwards was speaking at an online meeting of the UK Universities Climate Network, sharing her knowledge of the different ways in which research is used by the UK Parliament and the opportunities academics can explore.

She suggested that academics, particularly PhD students, could look for opportunities to work as fellows in the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology. POST fellows write notes and briefings based on expert interviews and evidence. Current climate-related themes include horticulture and sustainable transitions.

Researchers can also submit written evidence to inquiries led by Select Committees in Parliament, with current inquiries being held on various subjects such as air quality and electrification. Information about inquiries currently accepting evidence is available on the Parliament website; researchers can submit evidence relevant to their area of expertise. They may also be invited to give oral evidence at sessions during the inquiry.

Dr Edwards is working with various Select Committees in both houses of the Parliament, evaluating evidence and suggesting experts to consult.

She is working in a recently launched Climate and Environment Hub within Parliament, looking for ways to strengthen Parliament’s connections with academia and other stakeholders across POST, the Select Committees, and the two libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

She recommended that researchers look out for engagement opportunities on the Parliament website and newsletter

Dr Tamsin Edwards at the 2023 Glastonbury Festival

Dr Edwards will be a speaker at the Glastonbury Festival, one of the largest performing arts festivals in the world, which is taking place between 21-26 June this year.

She will be sharing insights on climate change at ‘The Free University of Glastonbury’ and on the Laboratory Stage in the ‘Green Futures’ area of the festival.

In this story

Tamsin Edwards

Professor in Climate Change