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Education and Science Policy Committee


This Principal Committee reports directly to Council and is responsible for:

  • Proactive development of a strategic policy framework across education and science policy, and its communication.
  • Development of the evidence base to underpin policy work.
  • Guidance and support in responding to relevant consultations.
  • Guiding schools engagement work and relevant careers and outreach activity as part of the strategic framework.


Members of the Education and Science Policy (ESP) Committee:


Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore FRSB, Committee Chair
Sarah-Jayne is Chair of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her group's research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the adolescent brain.

Clari Burrel AMRSB
Clari has an undergraduate degree in plant science from the University of Edinburgh. She is currently in the final year of her PhD, working on plant-microbe interactions in crop disease. She is particularly interested in equity of access and opportunity within scientific education and careers.

Professor David Coates MBE FRSA FLS CBiol FRSB
David is Chair of the RSB Accreditation Committee, most recently Dean of Life Sciences Learning and Teaching, University of Dundee; previously Dean of Life Sciences at Bradford, and Head of the School of Biology at Leeds. Before that, David was a teacher and researcher in genetics and genomics with an interest in genome structures and evolution; and a keen reorganiser of HE curricula with a strong focus on student learning.

Franziska Fischer MRSB
Franziska is an agricultural scientist and the Programme Manager for the Master in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are in crop science, where she focuses on disease resistance in wheat. She holds master’s degrees in crop improvement and in agricultural economics. Franziska enjoys science communication and has a keen interest in sustainable agriculture.

Nicola Kelting MRSB
Nicola has a passion for the natural world, BSc Hons Biology, MSc in Plant Diversity, and an adventurous 8-year career in tropical field conservation. She now focuses her skills and knowledge in secondary education. Nicola teaches biology with interests in engaging girls in STEM and positive impacts of outdoor learning.

Professor Patricia Kuwabara FRSB
Patricia is currently Professor of Genomics at the University of Bristol, and is serving as Graduate Dean in the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences. Patricia has co-organised international training courses for postgraduates under the sponsorship of EMBO and the Wellcome Trust. She has served as an external reviewer of bioscience programmes across the UK, and she is a strong supporter of diversity and equality and student voice in education. Patricia is also a member of the Council of the RSB, providing an important link with this Committee.

Dr Catriona Manville MRSB
Catriona is a Research Leader in the Innovation, Health and Science team at RAND Europe, where she leads a portfolio of work around translating research and innovation into practice, and evaluations of funding schemes at a programme and national level. Between 2014 and 2016 Catriona was seconded to NIHR as a Business Analyst to support the monitoring and evaluation of NIHR’s research portfolio. Catriona has a PhD from the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences from Newcastle University.

Dr Jamie McFadzean MRSB
Jamie's interests are veterinary/agricultural disease and policy. Jamie has researched: livestock genetics; AMR; East African livestock; and grassland livestock production microbial cycling. Jamie graduated from University of Glasgow BSc(hons) Veterinary Bioscience (2013), Master of Veterinary Public Health (2015), and completed his PhD at Rothamsted Research and University of Exeter (2018). He currently works for Defra as a senior policy advisor on zoonoses.

Professor Stephen Price FRSB
Stephen is a Professor of Developmental Neurobiology and is also Director of Education in the Division of Biosciences at UCL. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Heads of University Biosciences, a special interest group of the RSB, and is a member of the ESP Committee in that capacity.

Professor Sara Rankin FRSB
Sara has a first class hons degree and PhD in Pharmacology from Kings College London. She joined Imperial College London in 1995 where she is now Professor of Leukocyte and Stem Cell Biology. In addition to her research she is NHLI lead for both EDI and public engagement.

Rebecca Robertson MRSB
Rebecca carries out interdisciplinary research at the University of Leeds. Rebecca's PhD project explores the health and wellbeing benefits of green spaces. Rebecca's work aims to empower local community members and connect them with nature. Rebecca is experienced in evidence-based conservation and policy engagement. Rebecca wants to inspire people through biology and encourage more diversity within the biosciences.

Dr Susanne Voelkel MRSB
Susanne is Director of Education (School of Life Sciences) at the University of Liverpool. After a PhD and Postdoc (Animal Physiology) in Germany, Susanne moved to the UK and started a second career as an HEI educator. Her area of research now focuses on assessment and feedback.

Associate Professor Philip Young FRSB
Philip is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, where he is the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Life Sciences. Pedagogically, Philip's main interests are assessment strategies and constructive alignment in tertiary education.

Additional representatives:

Representatives from our Strategic Partner Member Organisations.

RSB staff team including:

Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, Chief Executive
Dr Laura Bellingan FRSB, Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Lauren McLeod AMRSB, Head of Education Policy
Dr Laura Marshall MRCVS MRSB, Head of Science Policy (also Secretariat)


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