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ASTON UNIVERSITY PHD GRADUATE APPOINTED MINISTER FOR SCIENCE

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7 October 2008 – for immediate release

Aston University PhD Graduate, Lord Paul Drayson, has been appointed Minister for Science, following a Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Lord Drayson, who received an honorary degree from Aston, last year, gained his BSc in Production Technology and Production Management and a PhD in Robotics, from Aston.

The newly appointed Cabinet Minister believes that Britain should launch an astronaut programme to inspire young people to take up science and that the country needs large-scale ‘iconic’ challenges to truly inspire the next generation of scientists.

“It really goes to the heart of who I am as an individual,” said the 48-year-old, who was made a peer by Tony Blair and is also a top-flight racing driver.

“When I was a young boy I was inspired by those great science projects - in 1969, I was nine when men first landed on the moon; it was fantastic. The first time concord flew. Those things made a big difference to me. They made me want to be involved in science and technology.”

Lord Drayson added that he was ‘totally’ behind a UK astronaut programme.

“What we need to do is to make more people at that very important age of 10 or 11, believe that they can have a wonderful life by being a part of science and technology. He added; “To have the opportunity to have responsibility for UK science is an honour and I’m very enthusiastic about it.”

The position of science minister has been upgraded to a cabinet post and Lord Drayson will chair a new cabinet subcommittee for science and innovation.

He joins the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills as Science Minister, having previously held a range of high profile government appointments, including; Minster of State for Defence Equipment and Support; Government Spokesman for Defence in the House of Lords and Minister of State for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory reform.

ENDS

For more information contact Alex Earnshaw, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or a.earnshaw@aston.ac.uk

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