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University of Bradford lecturer swaps lab coat for legislation


Dr Mariam Kiran from the University of Bradford swapped lab coat for legislation when she visited the House of Commons for a week in Westminster.

Dr Kiran, a lecturer in software engineering, was selected to take part this year in the Royal Society’s pairing scheme for researchers in Parliament. She was working with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, paired with Gary Spencer, a senior civil servant responsible for export controls in the UK.

The visit provided Dr Kiran with a behind the scenes insight into how policy is formed and how her research can be used to make evidence-based decisions. The scheme also gives government the opportunity to investigate the science behind decisions and improves access to scientific evidence.

Dr Kiran was exploring how UK export laws influence software and data transfer into and outside UK.

She also met MP Nick Clegg to discuss the challenges faced in the cloud computing research area and issues pertaining to lack of gender and diversity in computing and technology fields both in industry and academia.

Dr Kiran said: “The pairing scheme is a wonderful opportunity to put science at the heart of government decision-making, ensuring that key policies are informed by the latest research. It’s also invaluable for us as scientists to understand the policy-making process.”

Dr Kiran instigated and is currently serving as the president of the ACM-W UK chapter devoted to promoting diversity in computing fields. The chapter is a UK wide effort with multiple UK industries and universities involved. More information can be found at

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