MSP Pairing

Members at Holyrood TU1

We run a pairing scheme which brings together Scotland’s policymakers and young leaders from YAS.

Launched in 2019, the scheme pairs MSPs with young leaders drawn from. Over the course of several meetings, the pairs learn about each other’s work and build bridges to work together on evidence-based policy in the future.

How does it work?

The scheme pairs a group of YAS members with the same number of MSP’s for a day of shadowing at Holyrood, a further day of shadowing during the MSP’s constituency work, and a reciprocal visit of the MSP to the YAS member’s place of work.

This scheme was inspired by a similar, long-running scheme administered by the Royal Society of London that sees scientists paired with Members of the UK Parliament.

Who can participate?

Current YAS members are invited to apply for the scheme, which runs annually.  Members interested in being paired with a policymaker submit an application in early Spring.  At present, 5 members per year are paired with Members of The Scottish Parliament. Members of the Scottish Parliament are selected by invitation.

Young Academy members who are not paired with a policymaker may also participate in this scheme by attending events associated with the scheme. In 2019, these events included tours of the Parliament Building, briefings with SPICe, attending a Parliamentary Committee, and a networking reception with MSPs, RSE Fellows and YAS members.

Feedback on this scheme

  • It was a very eye-opening experience! Watching them in action at parliament and in the constituency, I learnt that MSPs are listeners, advocates, problem-solvers, legislators, campaigners - and a whole lot more.. . It was also great to have the opportunity to chat to them about my world of work, to adjust some false impressions (!) and to make connections with them and their wider networks that will hopefully lead to more dialogue and co-working in the future.

    Alice Konig
  • I found it really useful to be able to understand more about how to pique MSP’s interest in issues - you need a story behind the facts if you want them to pay attention!

    Allison Jackson
  • It is impressive how many of the problems MSPs need to solve in the constituency go beyond traditional politics or party positioning. [My MSP] showed me a whole list of cases they are working and also all the petitions and campaigns he is doing in the region.

    Sandro Carnicelli

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