Andrew Miller MP with Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill
Presented by: Ian Meadows
Andrew Miller has a real passion for how Science and Society meet, and this has been evident throughout his successful career as a Member of Parliament, representing Labour in Ellesmere Port and Neston for over twenty years.
Educated in Malta and at the London School of Economics, Andrew gained a Diploma in Industrial Relations and began his career as a technician in geology at the Portsmouth Polytechnic. He then moved into industrial relations and was an official for the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union. As a Trade Union Official he represented his members at Industrial Tribunals and for a moment I wondered if I had met him in different circumstances. But I needn’t have worried. For it wasn’t one of my employees who Andrew represented, when disciplined for a lapse of security.
Attending the Tribunal, Andrew thought outside the box, obtained the entry code for the building, and let himself in. He said “good morning” to the Reception staff and strode confidently past them on his way to the hearing. Having listened to the allegation made against the employee, Andrew asked if the security in the court building was good. Assured that it was the best, he asked “So how was I allowed into the building unchallenged and without a pass”? The Hearing was abandoned and the charge dropped!
He went on to stand for Parliament and he represented the Labour Party at Ellesmere Port and Neston until the General Election in May. During a career spanning 23 years he took on a number of parliamentary roles, becoming Chairman of both the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee and the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee during the last Parliament.
In 2014, the Science Council recognised him as “one of the UK’s 100 leading practising scientists”.
His unique role within science and technology has greatly helped develop meaningful links between scientific bodies, science-based industries, the academic world and government. Always keen to engage industry with the latest thinking in Science and Technology, he invited my company to join the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee a couple of years ago and it has opened up some very useful channels.
Andrew has worked tirelessly to provide the right environment for education, research and industry to thrive. His work has brought a range of science-related issues into the public domain, including climate change, genetically modified food and the merits of NHS screening.
His innate enthusiasm and commitment has led to step changes – something always fundamental to his initial desire for public office.
He holds the view that there is ‘no excuse for not engaging with the public’ and that we can have some really important public debates, not only about science ethics but also about science funding. He has also stated that every science-based company should ensure that the public understands the relevance of what they’re doing as part of their corporate social responsibility.
I’m not sure that my company’s invention of double yellow lines received much sympathy, but the reduction of accidents due to the introduction of double white lines hopefully gained greater acceptance.
Andrew is committed to starting engagement with the public at a young age, and has supported the work of this University’s National Schools’ Observatory which provides telescope access to thousands of school pupils. He even hosted a special event for the Observatory in the House of Commons to help promote their work within Parliament. He was the first Select Committee chairman to stage a role reversal with young scientists who quizzed him at a Voice of the Future event.
Andrew has also addressed the shortage of women pursuing scientific careers, delivering the inaugural LJMU STEM Lecture ‘for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’, earlier this year.
During his career, Andrew has also strived to improve international relations. He was a member of the First Steps Team working with the Foreign Office to promote relations with EU and prospective EU member states with specific responsibility for Hungary and Malta and his liaison work with the two countries continues today.
After retiring from Parliament earlier this year Andrew stated the following:
"Having always been passionate about science and technology, I want to continue to work on the big science issues that I see as being crucial to both the UK and my local economy.”
Indeed, Andrew will be continuing his commitment to science and technology in the university sector as he joins the advisory board of the United Kingdom Research Integrity Office. His ongoing dedication to making science and technology accessible to everyone and a key part of our economy is both admirable and inspirational.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Andrew Miller, this most distinguished son of our city, for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.