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Scottish scientists present research to MPs at Dragons’ Den-style event

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee travelled to Edinburgh for the ‘science showcase’.

A laboratory

Some of Scotland’s leading science organisations have told MPs about their cutting-edge research at a special showcase event.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee travelled to Edinburgh for the “science showcase”, with 14 organisations pitching their fields of research to the MPs.

In a Dragons’ Den-style event on Monday, the researchers were given two minutes to present their studies to members of the committee.

Committee chair Pete Wishart said the research on display had been “world-leading”.

The MPs are looking into investment barriers and whether the UK and Scottish governments provide adequate support for the sector’s continued growth.

Groups from Scotland’s major universities took part, as well as Cancer Research UK, the British Neuroscience Association and the James Hutton Institute.

SNP independence plan
Pete Wishart said the research was ‘world leading’ (House of Commons/PA)

Speaking after the event, Mr Wishart told the PA news agency he had been particularly impressed with the advances in quantum physics and its fibre optic applications.

The scientists asked for more Government support in spinning out businesses from research, as well as making sure funding streams from the UK and devolved levels work better.

He said: “Scotland can do things differently because we’re a smaller market, a smaller community.

“I think what knocked us out today was the degree of collaboration between all the different people in the sector, to share the facilities.”

Some had said they have difficulties attracting other scientists from EU countries to work on their projects post-Brexit.

Mr Wishart said: “We heard from a couple that are finding it difficult now to attract EU workforce and scientists and more people are coming from further afield.

“Brexit has not helped, everybody understands that in this sector, but it is a very adaptive sector.”

The MPs discussed the importance of diversity in recruitment as well as improving public awareness of the career opportunities within it.

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