February was a bumper month for the Fellowship Programme, with 18 fellowship visits, encompassing 14 different MPs and 15 different companies, in 28 days.
Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, kicked off the month with a visit on Thursday 01 February to QinetiQ’s Rosyth site where she learned how investment in science and technology supports the Royal Navy’s defence capabilities. The visit was part of Carol’s IPT Fellowship exploring science and technology industry and supports her work on the Science and Technology Select Committee.
Also visiting QinetiQ in February was Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, who completed his second full IPT Fellowship by going to the company’s Farnborough site on Friday 16 February. The highlight of his visit was a tour of the five-metre wind tunnel, in which Boeing tests its commercial aircraft to improve efficiency during landing and take-off. The aviation theme continued with three other visits across the country: Chris Matheson, MP for City of Chester, spent time with Boeing on Monday 26 February; Nick Thomas-Symonds, MP for Torfaen and Shadow Security Minister, visited Heathrow Airport on Thursday 01 February; and Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham, spent Thursday 15 February at Manchester Airport exploring the integration of road and rail transport with the airport as part of his Fellowship on transport infrastructure.
From the skies to the seas – Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, kicked off his fellowship with two visits to DP World ports. On Friday 02 February he toured the DP World operation at Southampton Port, and followed up the week after with a morning at London Gateway.
Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, also went to the coast for her first fellowship visit on Wednesday 14 February. She began her renewable energy-focused fellowship at Tidal Lagoon Swansea, where she learned about the viability of tidal as a renewable energy source and commented - “this first visit of my IPT Fellowship has given me invaluable knowledge on the practical, political and environmental effects of a new technology”.
Technology remains a key theme for many of our fellows, and one that was explored in several visits this month. Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives, continued his fellowship in tech innovation on Tuesday 06 February with a visit to Wayra UK, a world-leading start-up accelerator programme backed by Telefónica. The visit provided Derek with insight into how start-ups in the UK can be supported through not just funding, but mentoring.
Meanwhile on Wednesday 14 February, Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, stayed close to home with a visit to York-based Digital Creativity Labs, an initiative where UK creative industries and organisations come together to access research expertise. This is Rachael’s second IPT Fellowship visit exploring the creative sector.
Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, continued her Postgraduate Fellowship exploring the creative sectors on Thursday 22 February, with a fascinating visit to BBC Broadcasting House in London. Her morning included visits to BBC Radio 3, the One Show, and BBC World Service.
Further visits this month included:
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the companies who hosted fellows for us in February. We look forward to continuing our busy schedule of visits – check back in a month to find out what our fellows get up to in March.