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The sixth annual Biology Week Parliamentary Reception took place on Wednesday, hosted by Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Carol Monaghan MP and Chi Onwurah MP.

Held in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the reception brought together RSB members and Fellows, MPs, Member Organisations and other members of the biosciences community to celebrate the study and impact of biology in the UK.


Chi Onwurah MP. Stephen Metcalfe MP, Dr Stephen Benn and Professor Dame Jean Thomas voting in the tree poll (photo credit: RSB)


The evening’s activities were introduced by Dr Stephen Benn, RSB’s director of parliamentary affairs. Stephen Metcalfe MP then spoke to the audience about the importance of biology in addressing the challenges we face as a society, and highlighted the work that the RSB does through Biology Week and throughout the year, to tackle these challenges.


Stephen Metcalfe MP addresses guests in the Churchill Rooms (Photo credit: RSB)


Professor Dame Jean Thomas FRS Hon FRSB, president of the Royal Society of Biology, spoke about the diversity of other events during Biology Week, including a Policy Lates discussion event on the biology of mental health, timed to coincide with World Mental Health Day, and a debate about genome editing at the Royal Institution.


Attendees mingling in the Churchill Room in the Houses of Parliament (Photo credit: RSB)


BBSRC chief executive Professor Melanie Welham FRSB then discussed both the partnership activities with the RSB, and the huge and exciting advances being made through BBSRC-funded research.

She highlighted developments in food production becoming a reality through translation and testing of new knowledge and technology, and championed the importance of continued investment in basic research in order to shape the future.



BBSRC chief executive Professor Melanie Welham FRSB (Photo credit: RSB)


Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, highlighted the importance of a strong voice for biology in Parliament, and congratulated the RSB on the work they do to inform policy development.


Norman Lamb MP and Dr Stephen Benn (Photo credit: RSB)


It was also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of RSB members. Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology, presented certificates to three newly elected Registered Science Technicians.

These awards formally recognise the knowledge and experience of recipients and their commitment to CPD. Certificates were presented to to Harriet Fry RSciTech, Rachel Smith RSciTech MRSB and Alice Dibley RSciTech AMRSB.

Throughout the evening, guests were also invited to cast their ballots to vote for their favourite UK tree species, inspired by the Biology Week national poll.

Of the 223 votes cast, the horse chestnut tree won with a total of 68 votes. The results for the national poll will be announced shortly.


Dr Stephen Benn announces the winners of the tree poll (Photo credit: RSB)


The Royal Society of Biology would like to thank the guest speakers, hosts, the BBSRC and everyone who attended the event.