Science in policy-making: the role of evidence-based policy in a modern world
The science of today’s technologically sophisticated society is central to addressing the challenges and complexities of life in a modern world. Yet the policies that govern society have often experienced a disparate relationship with science. This is partly because scientific evidence has often been misunderstood or manipulated to fit political agendas and scientists have veered away from public debate, both having major implications for political legitimacy, scientific authority and democratic participation.
The British Government has responded to the growing perception that governance should be underpinned by evidence by launching a series of “What Works” centres, which are independent specialist centres aiming to disseminate research to local decision-makers through an evidence-based agenda, throughout the UK. The hope is that outcomes of various policies can be ascertained with greater certainty, enabling policy makers to make better decisions regarding the adoption, modification, continuation or termination of policies. This leads to the question we at theGIST would like to explore: what role should science and scientific evidence have in policy-making?
To answer this question, we will bring students and early career researchers face to face with experts and policy-makers in an attempt to foster constructive and forward-thinking discussion. The programme will consist of high-profile experts talks, a specialist panel discussion, an article competition and a poster competition – the latter two aimed at students and young researchers. This will be an exceptional opportunity for public engagement and recogition of academic achievement.
The conference speakers and panel members include a member of the Scottish parliament, the associate director at Policy Scotland, the co-chair of Scottish Science Advisory Council, a representative from Glasgow City of Science and leading academics who will speak on a range of topics, from rehabilitation science to criminal justice.
The winning student poster entries will receive substantial exposure by being toured throughout Glasgow, and the winner of the article competition will be awarded a place at the prestigious Sense About Science media workshop, also held at the University of Glasgow on the 20th of November 2014. Other participation benefits include the chance to practice communicating science adequately and appropriately, to meet and discuss with other people involved with and interested in evidence-based policy, and to explore other scientific fields which guide and inform policy in novel and interesting ways.
Contemporary societies face both age-old and new challenges, and the decision about which methods we as citizens want to adopt to tackle them is an important one. Scientists can be part of the solution – and you can help set the agenda.
We look forward to seeing you there!
To find out more, have a look at our conference page.
Edited by Timothy Revell and Ida Emilie Steinmark.