Our latest expert panel debate, Science for policy: a European perspective, took place at Swansea University on 4th September. Our venue was The Great Hall on the impressive new Bay Campus, an exciting 65-acre development. Professor Johann Sienz, Director of Innovation and Engagement, led a tour of the campus following the debate.
The Panel Chair was Professor John Tucker MAE, who highlighted the 30th Anniversary of Academia Europaea (1988-2018) and its vital role in promoting European science.
The new Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Peter Halligan, opened the session with insightful reflections on his first six months in the role. The focus then switched to the new European Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM), established at the end of 2015. Professor Ole Petersen gave an overview of the role played by academies in the SAM, through the Horizon 2020-funded project Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA). SAPEA’s achievements were illustrated by two case studies, one on Carbon Capture and Utilisation, presented by Professor Mike Bowker and the other on Food from the Oceans, delivered by Wendy Sadler MBE. Public engagement with science is central to Wendy’s work and she powerfully demonstrated how to translate complex science.
The final panellists provided a research perspective on the evolving field of science for policy. Dr Dion Curry explored the role of scientific research in informing public policy, highlighting his initiative IMPACKT (Initiative for Managing Policymaker-Academic Cooperation and Knowledge Transfer). Professor Robert Evans spoke of the values of science in supporting democracy through the two-way interaction between science and society, developed in his co-authored book, Why democracy needs science (Polity, 2017).
The presentations sparked an interesting and lively debate, with the audience expressing their views on a wide variety of issues. These included the challenges faced by researches in navigating the policy process, the understanding of science by policymakers, the relationship between science and the media, and diversity within the sector.
If you missed the event, you can watch the slides and listen to the recording here. The Programme provides details on the speakers and timings. A full report on the event will follow. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact Juliet Davies.