Posted on 20 March 2019
Dr Aimee Clarke, a postdoctoral researcher from the Department of Chemistry working with Dr William Unsworth and Professor Richard Taylor, was one of only 30 chemists nationwide, selected to present research at STEM for Britain. This annual event, at which early career researchers from across the STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects discuss "ground-breaking and frontier UK research” with Members of Parliament, presents a unique opportunity for researchers from academia, rather than industry, to meet and engage with politicians.
Hosted in the Attlee Suite in Portcullis House at the House of Commons, the focus of STEM for Britain is a poster competition, which presents the basis from which research is discussed. Throughout the event there is the opportunity for researchers to network with one another as well as with MPs and representatives from professional bodies such as the Royal Society of Chemistry. Awards are made for the best research work and results by an early-career researcher, along with their ability to communicate their work to a lay audience.
Aimee presented a poster entitled “Straight to the Core: A New Approach to Medicinally Relevant Molecules” which communicated her complex work on a new approach to access medicinally relevant scaffolds using an enantioselective dearomative cyclisation cascade. Aimee said:
“I was judged by two of the five chemistry judges - physical chemist Professor Helen Fielding and the head judge for chemistry, Dr Peter Machin a medicinal chemist. After the judging I got to present my work to my MP Julian Sturdy, who I had invited to the event, a definite highlight of the day. He was very enthusiastic and excited to hear about my research.”
Aimee highly recommends the event, although she was not among the prizewinners on this occasion:
“It was a fantastic day and such a privilege to be given the opportunity to present my research in the Houses of Parliament. Not many people can say they have been able to do that. It was always going to be a challenge presenting complex synthetic chemistry research to a lay audience but I enjoyed the engaging conversations with judges, other researchers and MPs. I would recommend this event to any final year PhD students or postdocs who fancy a challenge.”