I was just trying to remember today when we first took Anna to the Science Festival which takes place in Edinburgh every April. I am fairly sure it was in 2003, when she would have been a couple of months shy of her fourth birthday. Over the years it's become a huge highlight of our year. She's dug for dinosaurs, mummified apples, climbed up a giant nose for a tour of the olfactory system, pollenated flowers with ribena and, through the Festival, been a junior judge for Dare to be Digital Actually, she's always had a very warm welcome at Dare, because they have so few girls who sign up to be judges. She loves giving her feedback on the games and was even interviewed for Channel 4 last year.
We're actually heading to the Science Festival tomorrow and on Thursday. Tomorrow I'll have 3 children and am slightly concerned because I think I'll have to superglue the wee five year old to me so I can have peace of mind in the crowds.
I am slightly disappointed that we weren't able to go today to see our leader Tavish Scott visit the event with Alex Cole-Hamilton, the candidate for Edinburgh Central. He's a very familiar face to Anna given that she's spent the last two Sunday afternoons stuffing envelopes for him. They were there to launch the Party's Science Nation Action Plan
Liberal Democrats have pledged to make Scotland a science nation, the world leader in science and research. Despite being a definite arts type person -seriously, first year high school Physics was completely beyond me (though I did get an A in O Grade Chemistry) - the value of science to our understanding of the world and to our economy can't be overestimated.
The idea behind our plans is to encourage more people to study science and particularly to encourage more women to make it their career. I suspect we'll have to make the career path less linear if we want to do that, though. We also want to turn great research into world-beating business opportunities.
Commenting, Tavish said:
“The Liberal Democrats have the best plans to boost Scotland’s reputation in science and research. We compete at the highest levels, but we want to go even further.
“We will create a £250m Science Nation Fund to create jobs in science and maintain the international competitiveness of our university based research and science.
"Life sciences alone contribute £3bn to the Scottish economy.
“We will create a Minister for Science, Innovation and the Digital Economy to drive through our plans in science and research.
“We want Scotland’s research to help Scotland’s services. We will foster links between the Scottish life sciences industries and NHS Scotland to ensure that there are appropriate opportunities for the development and introduction of new products in Scotland.
“Our plans will encourage young people to study science to create the next generation of Scottish scientists.”
Just a wee footnote to say that my lovely Twitter friend Kayleigh, who works for the F1 team Lotus Renault, has benefited greatly from her experience with the Ingenious Women programme so we need to be putting resources into this sort of thing.