Nicole Kennard who has completed a fellowship UK parliament

Nicole Kennard research fellowship in Parliament

Nicole Kennard completes fellowship at the POST with parliamentary briefing on pesticides, health and post-Brexit regulation.

POSTbrief: Pesticides and human health

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is parliament’s in-house research service, which provides impartial summaries of scientific evidence to inform policy issues. In 2021, Grantham Scholar Nicole Kennard won a 3-month fellowship to work at POST. During her fellowship, she wrote a parliamentary research briefing (POSTbrief), titled: Pesticides and health. Additionally, she worked with the House of Commons Library to respond to enquiries from MPs on specific scientific topics.

Pesticides and health looks at links between pesticide exposures and human health and how we currently track exposures and minimise risk. Plus, it examines how Brexit has impacted pesticide regulation in the UK, and how this in turn may impact trade, industry, farmers and consumers. You can download the POSTbrief for free here. In order to create this report, Nicole gathered evidence from government departments and expert committees, regulatory agencies, academics, NGOs, and industry groups, interviewing over 50 individuals.

The University of Sheffield wrote a news story about Nicole’s work, which stresses the timely nature of this brief as the UK’s regulatory bodies begin to review new pesticide applications for the first time post Brexit. Read University of Sheffield scientist’s research fellowship in Parliament leads to briefing on pesticides and health for MPs and Peers.

Interview with Nicole about her POST fellowship

POST interviewed Nicole about her fellowship. In it, Nicole explains how she got involved with POST, her work with them, and what she learned. This video is available on YouTube (to watch click image below).

Food shortages during lockdown

Nicole was motivated to do the POST fellowship so that her research could make an impact beyond academia. Impact is important to Nicole, and she first engaged with parliament when she submitted evidence to the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee on the topic of Covid-19 and food supply. Nicole’s submission was based on research she conducted with Foodhall, a community food organisation in Sheffield that Nicole volunteers with. If you want to know more about Foodhall, then you can read this interview with Nicole about Foodhall, food shortages and the pandemic.

Grantham Centre training and POST

All Grantham Scholars receive training alongside their PhD. Training ranges from science communication to policy engagement. Plus they are encouraged and supported to do outreach.

Nicole first heard about POST through the Grantham Centre and was encouraged to apply for the fellowship. Our science policy training, along with a webinar she attended by the Parliament Knowledge Exchange Unit, gave Nicole the tools to engage with parliament.

Nicole Kennard with mask and box of food
Nicole Kennard volunteering at Sheffield’s Foodhall. Photo credit Nina Nina Weatherburn.

Nicole’s POSTbrief in the news

Pesticides and health was one of the biggest reports of its kind and was picked up by a variety of media outlets.

BBC 4 Farming Today had Nicole on to talk about the brief. You can find a link to it on iPlayer here (and you can find Nicole at 6:18).

The Yorkshire Post: Sheffield university academic gives briefing to the Government on the health risks posed by pesticides

Farming UK: New briefing explores health risks associated with pesticides

Horticulture Week: University of Sheffield scientist’s research fellowship in Parliament leads to briefing on pesticides and health for MPs and Peers

Økologisk nu (Organic Now): Rapport til den britiske regering viser sammenhænge mellem pesticider og sygdomme (Report to the UK Government shows links between pesticides and diseases).

More on Grantham Scholars & fellowships with POST

Nicole joins a growing list of Grantham Centre people who have worked with POST.

Grantham Scholar David Rapley started a placement at POST in October 2021.

In 2020, Joe Llanos had three-month placement with POST and wrote a POSTnote. Joe’s note explains the need for a resilient UK food sector. And it defines what resilience means in this context. Read A resilient UK food system: POSTnote by Grantham Scholar for more information.

Other work for UK parliament and POST from the Grantham Centre

Grantham Centre experts gave evidence to POST about both soil health and plastic food packaging in 2019. Find out more and links the POSTnotes here: Our experts give evidence on soil and plastic to POST.

Samuel Leigh, the POST Fellow for Energy and Environment, visited us in 2017. He discussed contributions for the note on Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture with Grantham Scholars and TUoS academics. Read Grantham Centre colleagues contribute to POSTnote on Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture for more.

Grantham Scholar Daniel Casey met the International Development Select Committee at parliament. He was given tips on how best to work with select committees, which he shared in a blog for us. Read: Academics and select committees by Daniel Casey.

Keep up to date with Nicole’s work after her UK parliament fellowship

Nicole wrote a thread on Twitter summarising Pesticides and health. If you want to read this or keep up to date with Nicole’s work then you can follow her on Twitter.