During my time in Southampton I’ve been privileged to meet some very important people. Back in March 2009 the then Cabinet Minister for Science and Innovation Lord Drayson came to visit and I was asked to take part in a small round-table discussion about the state of science education in the UK. Through the UKESF program I’ve met the CEOs of ARM, Imagination Technologies and many other electronics giants a few times as well as travelling to London to brief the Secretary for State for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk MP about the UK electronics scene. I didn’t really think it was ever going to be possible to top all of those, but I was wrong, oh so very wrong…
Last month ECS held a Careers Fair with a bit of a difference – the guest of honour was His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York! The Duke officially opened the Fair and then a few other ECS students and I were invited to join a round-table discussion with him, the University Vice-Chancellor, Dame Wendy Hall, the head of the CBI (another Dame) and other distinguished guests about Southampton and the electronics industry. I even managed to get the prime seat at the table, directly opposite the Duke, but sadly (yet understandably) we weren’t allowed to take pictures. It did happen though, honest! (Just realised that as I’m sitting writing this on the 27th March there’s a small chance it might get published on April Fool’s Day, and then you really won’t believe me!).
We covered a wide array of subjects and he was particularly keen to learn about how industry and universities could work better together to grow science and technology in the UK. This was a great chance for me to discuss the work of the UKESEF with him and he seemed very interested in everything they do so hopefully that will be able to help further support the initiative.
I guess the only question left is who’s coming down to Southampton next? Can anyone better the Royal Family?