Episode 49: From Cambridge to the Commons

This episode features Julian Huppert, former Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, and now Director of the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College Cambridge.

We chat about Julian's journey from academia to the House of Commons where he was recognised as the only scientist, a label that Julian was keen to not define and confine his policy goals. We wanted to get his insight into the general state of scientific understanding in parliament, and how scientists can better engage politicians. There's an unfortunate stereotype that scientists hold politics at arm's length, and while there may not be a need for all scientists to be engaged at the policy making level, even minimal involvement (contacting local MPs, etc) can ensure that the topics that matter to researchers are heard.

We were also eager to dive into his new(ish) role as Director of the Intellectual Forum, an organisation that has critical thinking and open discussion at its core, covering an impressive breadth of topics which can essentially be boiled down to anything 'interesting and worthwhile', including the role of automation in the workplace, and addressing social mobility.

Related Episodes:

Episode 29: Bringing Science to the Senate, where we chat to UC Berkeley Biologist Michael Eisen about his run for senate, and how scientists cannot afford to be apart from politics.