Sidney College Research Associate Dr Maura Malpetti is taking part in a national programme intended to develop greater understanding between scientific researchers and those involved in formulating policy. 

Dr Malpetti was selected for The Royal Society Pairing Scheme 2023, and spent a week in Westminster where she met with politicians and civil servants. She shadowed Daniel Zeichner MP, who has represented Cambridge since 2015, and also heard from Julian Huppert, Mr Zeichner’s predecessor. 

Two people are standing in front of a red pop up banner.
Dr Maura Malpetti with Daniel Zeichner MP, pictured at a parliamentary reception in the Churchill Room, Palace of Westminster

Dr Malpetti said: “The Royal Society Pairing Scheme has provided me with an incredible opportunity to experience first-hand, and discuss, how scientists can contribute to policy, and how political decision-makers can continue to make research a policy priority. 

“My research is centred on dementia - and dementia affects everybody, not just the people who have it, but also their families, communities and society as a whole. To discuss this and hear the different perspectives of policymakers on clinical research, has been highly instructive, and will continue to shape my research programme, with the ultimate aim of finding a cure for dementia, identifying tools for better and earlier diagnosis and, potentially, developing strategies for prevention.” 

During her week in Westminster, Dr Malpetti attended a parliamentary reception, which provided researchers with an opportunity to present their work and to hear from the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, and Dr Julie Maxton CBE, Executive Director of the Royal Society. The programme also included a lecture from Professor Andrew Blick, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, King’s College London, on how parliament and government works; and sessions on policymaking and media engagement, presented by the Royal Society.

Later this year, Daniel Zeichner MP will visit Dr Malpetti’s lab in Cambridge to continue their conversation. 

Dr Malpetti is a Race Against Dementia Alzheimer’s Research UK Fellow. A neuroscientist, her work is focused on frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Royal Society Pairing Scheme runs annually. 30 research scientists are paired with either parliamentarians or civil servants.  

You can also read an interview with Dr Maura Malpetti about her work.

Main photo: David Dibert via

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