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Dr Peter Connor will spend three days shadowing Labour MEP Clare Moody in Brussels this week. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Exeter expert participates in pairing scheme to foster links between science and policy

A University of Exeter academic will spend three days shadowing Labour MEP Clare Moody in Brussels this week as part of a scheme to foster links between scientists and European policy makers.

Dr Peter Connor, Senior lecturer in Renewable Energy Policy, is one of 33 academics from across Europe to have been selected for the MEP Scientist Pairing Scheme. He was partnered with Ms Moody, the Labour MEP for the South West of England, and will spend time shadowing her in committee meetings and during her daily activities at the European Parliament.

The scheme, which attracted more than 320 applications from scientists and researchers across Europe, was set up by the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment panel with the aim of enhancing understanding and establishing cooperation between MEPs and researchers. It takes place from January 25-27, 2016.

Dr Connor, who has a special interest in the design and implementation of policy and regulation as it impacts on renewable energy sources of electricity and heat within the UK and at EU level, said he was very much looking forward to the visit.

“It will be an interesting opportunity to meet Clare Moody, one of the people involved in designing and implementing policy in my area of research,” said Dr Connor. “It will be really good to get a better understanding of how the policy-making process works and the challenges faced at European level and how that links to national policy. I am particularly looking forward to seeing how everything works and how it all ties together.”

During the visit Dr Connor, who is based at Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, will have an opportunity to present his own research to Ms Moody and is hoping that the experience will be the start of an ongoing relationship with the MEP at local level. He is particularly interested in her role as a substitute member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the remit of which includes renewable energy.

“I am particular interested in the potential for the development of industrial opportunities relating to marine renewable energy in the South West and the development of smart energy technologies. Both of these offer the chance for the SW to grow new knowledge based industries to provide export opportunities for local companies and high-tech jobs for local people.” Dr Connor added.

“I am hoping that being paired with Clare Moody will give me the opportunity to understand how I can contribute to creating the right conditions for these technologies to mature and for the South West to exploit them for the greatest local benefit.”

Date: 26 January 2016

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