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Clare Moody with scientists from the Penryn Campus.

South West MEP takes policy advice from scientists at Penryn Campus

South West MEP Clare Moody has visited the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus to take advice from leading academics on the issues of energy policy and gender equality.

The Labour MEP met a range of experts during a full day of discussions and presentations at the University, and was shown state-of-the-art campus facilities which include a current flume that allows simulated tidal and marine currents for hydro-dynamic experiments. She also spent some time with student Labour Party supporters.

The visit has been arranged by Dr Peter Connor, a Lecturer in Renewable Energy, who spent three days shadowing the Labour MEP in Brussels earlier this year as part of a scheme to foster links between scientists and European policy makers.

Ms Moody, who sits on the European Budget Committee, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee and Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament, was greeted by Professor David Hosken in the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) before taking part in a discussion on gender equality with Professor Frances Wall of Camborne School of Mines and other women academics who explained the University’s commitment to promoting gender equality and opportunities for women working in science.  

She also took part in a round-table panel discussion on energy policy with experts in Renewable Energy including Dr Connor and Professor Catherine Mitchell. Ms Moody was given a tour of the ESI interactive Space and the new £5.5 million Science and Engineering Research Support Facility (SERSF), which opened last summer and which houses the University of Exeter Business School, the Marine Renewables team, and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC). In the SERSF building she visited the flume and heard from experts about the internationally-leading research being carried out into marine energy in Cornwall. 

During the day Ms Moody also met Professor Lora Fleming and colleagues from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health which is part of the University of Exeter Medical School to hear about its world-class research into the complex interconnections between the environment and health and its work in antimicrobials. 

Dr Philipp Thies, Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy, said: “We were delighted to show Clare Moody our experimental capability here at Penryn campus. Her visit is timely as it coincides with the release of the Ocean Energy Forum report, which shapes European policy recommendations on ocean energy and to which Exeter provided expert advice.” 

Dr Connor said: “I had a very productive time with Clare Moody in Brussels and it would be really good if this visit helps us to forge a stronger connection to her as a policy maker in Europe. She is very interested in science and technology and has links with trade associations and European research. Clare takes a strong role in promoting industry from the SW UK and we are keen to further our own activity in that area.”

Professor Frances Wall said: “It is an exciting time to be able to tell Clare Moody about initiatives to promote careers for women in mining. Our students now run their own Women in Mining society and we will host the first Women in Mining professional event outside of London in Cornwall next month.”

Clare Moody said: “I’m really excited to be here at Penryn Campus, a campus made possible thanks to EU funding. There seems to be no better example of where and how EU funding can be used to not only help the local economy but be used to push the boundaries of scientific research.

“Just here in Penryn EU funding has been used to help the building of the £30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute to research solutions to the consequences of climate change. While the EU funding played a key role in establishing and running marine energy R&D capabilities and the state of the art facilities in the South West, such as the Falmouth Bay Test site and WaveHub off the North Cornish Coast. ”

Date: 20 May 2016

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