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Did he really just say that? Serious scientist admits to MPs he voted for Boaty McBoatface

A scientist giving evidence to a committee of MPs looking at the Boaty McBoatface saga has admitted he voted for the comical research ship name.

The joke suggestion got the support of more than 100,000 people in a poll to name the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey's new polar research vessel.

But despite its popularity, the Department for Business dismissed the name as "not serious enough" and this week announced the ship would be called RRS Sir David Attenborough instead.

Today, the Science and Technology Committee gathered together representatives from the science world, including the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) which ran the competition.

The MPs want to know what lessons they can learn from the public engagement attempt that went a little wrong.

During the hearing, Prof James Wilsdon, who is Director of Impact and Engagement for the University of Sheffield's faculty of social sciences, made a surprising admission.

Prof James Wilsdon. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"When I first saw it I laughed. I voted for Boaty McBoatface myself. But it isn't a substantive for public engagement."

– Prof James Wilsdon.
RRS Sir David Attenborough. Credit: Department for Business.

The odd giggle can be heard as the meaning of what he said fully sunk in and MPs and his fellow contributors began to laugh.

There was a lot of disappointment this week when it was announced the government would not stand by the public's choice.

But the Department for Business said it was ensuring Boaty McBoatface lived on in the form of a smaller underwater research vessel which would be launched from RRS David Attenborough during research trips.

The real Boaty McBoatface. Credit: Department for Business.

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