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LGC at Science and Stormont 2013

21 Oct 2013
Tags:  Food

On Monday 14 October the LGC safefood Food Allergy & Food Intolerance Network exhibited alongside Allergy N I at the second annual Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Science and Stormont 2013 at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast.

The prestigious event aimed to build closer links between the Northern Ireland science and engineering community, MLAs and the Northern Ireland Executive.  It was sponsored by Basil McCrea MLA, Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group on Science and Technology.

The theme was Health and Innovation. Professor Robert Parker, Chief Executive of the RSC, introduced the scientific session, chaired by Professor Tony Byrne, Chair, RSC Northern Ireland Local Section. Professor Bernadette Hannigan, Director of R&D for Health and Social Care, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, discussed breaking down barriers to effective translation of health research into clinical practice.

Dr Ryan Donnelly of Queen's University explained fascinating polymer microneedles for drug delivery and testing body fluids. Professor Christopher Nugent, University of Ulster, told us about the use of everyday devices such as mobile phones to monitor health care, especially in the over 60s, and illustrated the challenges and opportunities for novel sensors and data mining big datasets.

A QUB spin out of a novel test for sperm DNA quality in relation to male infertility was given by Professor Sheena Lewis, of Queen’s University, as an example of good research with a market measurement application. Professor Tim Harrison, Vice President, Discovery Chemistry, Almac, gave examples of new medicinal drug development cooperation between QUB and Almac. In the MLA Q&A session, elected members advised scientists that when engaging with politicians, scientists should be more visible, put forward ideas in everyday language and keep it to 2 sides A4 or less.

The All Party Group on Science & Technology was affirmed as a key vehicle for interaction between science and public policy.  Professor Stephen McCarthy, with Professor Steven Tello, both of the University of Massachusetts, described entrepreneurial science. Professor Jim Iley, RSC Executive Director for Science, closed the formal part of the meeting, followed by an exhibition in the members' dining area where the Food Allergy & Food Intolerance stand generated much interest as did the Network Strategy (pictured below).

Article written by Michael Walker