Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Paul Drayson, returned to the laboratory, this week, to see the latest in cutting-edge engineering technology on offer at Aston University in Birmingham.The former Aston University graduate studied production engineering and robotics, gaining his PhD from Aston in 1986. He discovered at first hand the latest research work in photonics, mechanical engineering and bio-energy technologies.The world’s first robotic micro-drill to be used in surgical operations and work to create a carbon neutral biomass boiler as an alterative to using fossil-based fuels, were just some of the mechanical, environmental and medical engineering advances, explored by the Cabinet member. Renewable energy has always been a key concern for Lord Drayson, who as a keen racing driver, competed in a bio-ethanol Aston Martin Vanquish in the British GT Championship.Speaking after his visit, Lord Drayson, said; “It has been wonderful to return to Aston University, where I have many happy memories. It was here that my passion for science was really ignited and it’s now my job to inspire a whole new generation of young people to not only study science and engineering, but to get excited about the career and opportunities these subjects can offer. "When I studied here in the mid 1980s the need to find alternatives to fossil-based fuels was barely a consideration. In 2008, it’s become one of the most pressing challenges facing the UK. I’m excited about the bio energy research and the latest technology and research I’ve seen today at Aston University and who knows the person who makes the next big breakthrough in alternative fuels could be a student from within these laboratories."In his new position, 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.
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