Thursday 26th April
3-4pm Lecture Theatre A, Hicks Building
Despite claims that we live in a post-truth society, it remains commonplace for policy-makers to consult evidence to increase the robustness of decision-making. Few scholars of the evidence-policy interface, however, have used legislatures as sites of study, despite the fact that they play an important role in modern democracies. There is thus limited knowledge of how evidence is sourced by, and used in, legislatures, which presents challenges for science advisory structures, as well as to others who are interested in ensuring that democratic decisions are evidence-informed. In this talk, I present results from an empirical study, conducted with UCL STEaPP and POST, into the use of evidence in the UK Parliament. We were interested in how evidence was defined, sourced, and used by various actors in Parliament, including MPs, Peers, and parliamentary staff. Through the use of a mixed methodology, including interviews and surveys of people in Parliament, as well as an ethnographic investigation of committees, we found that evidence is sourced from a variety of different places. The Higher Education sector, however, had a relatively poor record of direct engagement with Parliament and my talk will discuss how we might better incentivise academic policy engagement. In mapping out the journey of evidence through the UK Parliament, the talk also offers advice to science advisory structures about how evidence can be delivered in a timely, targeted, and relevant manner. I also consider how parliamentary processes for sourcing and using evidence might be refined to improve the robustness, and transparency, of evidence use.
Featuring guest speakers
Dr David Rose | University of East Anglia
Free refreshments will be provided during the event and there will be opportunities to network at the end.
Thursday 15th March - 'Funding Blue Skies Research In The Age Of Austerity'
3pm Lecture Theatre A, Hicks Building
A thorough overview of the efforts made by learned societies to lobby government for sustained blue skies research funding, despite efforts to move towards more 'applicable' research.
Thursday 15th February - 'How can learned societies help you engage with science policy issues?'
3pm Lecture Theatre 8, The Diamond
Talks from representatives from the British Ecological Society and the Microbiology Society detailed how learned societies attempt to engage their memberships in policy decisions.
Wednesday 24th January - 'Have I got news for you' Welcome back Quiz
6pm Council Room, Firth Court
Beat the January blues with our fun quiz in the style of 'Have I got news for you?' Featuring odd-one-out roungs, Test your knowledge of science, politics and ridiculous headlines and enjoy some free refreshments. Come in a team or just turn up on the night. You could go home with some great prizes too!
Friday 13th October 2017 - An Introduction to Science Policy
3pm - Lecture Theatre A, Hicks Building
This workshop introduced participants to the policy making process and the important role that science can play in informing this process. We also discussed science within Parliament, the role of the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, and how to explain your science in novel ways (including a box of chocolates as a prop!).
Tuesday 11th July 2017, The Edge, Endcliffe Village, University of Sheffield
The Science in Policy committee conducted a workshop at the Science in Public conference. We talked about:
Government policies should be based on proved facts – but how does scientific evidence get into the policy arena? And how can you be proactive in moving your research out of the lab and into Parliamentary debates? Our interactive workshop will explain the practical things that researchers and science-concerned citizens can do to reach MPs and policy makers. Our session will cover the reasons to get involved in science policy; how to write for a non-academic audience; knowing who to present your research to and submitting evidence to Select Committees. There will be plenty of discussion and opportunities for your questions!
Thursday 15th June 2017, 3-4 pm, LT C Hicks Building, "How do Think Tanks Influence Government policy?"
A talk by guest speaker Dr Catie Lichten from the RAND Corporation in Cambridge discussing the role of Think Tanks in government policy. We found out things like: What is the role of a Think Tank analyst? Who do Think Tanks supply their work to? And who do Think Tanks look to employ?
Friday 19th May 2017, 3-5 pm, Firth Court Council Room, "Hot topics in Science and Policy: A Whistle-stop Tour"
A chance for all SIPnote groups to show off their excellent work at a presentation and prize giving ceremony. Also featured guest speaker, and Professor of Research Policy, James Wilsdon.
Thursday 20th April 2017, 6-8 pm, Firth Court F02, "Question Time Debate with Sheffield Central MP, Paul Blomfield - What does Brexit mean for Science?"
What does Brexit mean for Science? Science in Policy ran a Question-Time themed discussion about the effect Brexit will have on science, research institutes and their funding. Guest speakers included: Paul Blomfield (MP for Sheffield Central & Shadow Brexit Minister) and Rebecca Purvis (Head of Public Affairs for the Royal Society).
Wednesday 15th March 2017, 1-2pm, BMS Conference Room, "Science in Policy/ACCE Careers Cafe: Internships"
Science in Policy is liased with the ACCE DTP to organise a Career Café for PhD and ECR. ‘Careers Café’ was a one-hour session with talks followed by an informal discussion about career possibilities inside and outside academia with the aim of broadening the career path options open to the students. Our presenters shared their personal experiences and career stories. This session focused on internships.
Tuesday 24th January 2017, 2pm-5pm, Firth Court, Council Room, "POSTnote writing workshop and Competition"
The Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) publish short briefing documents known as POSTnotes, which provide MPs and peers with balance and independent analysis of science/technology issues. Our workshop provided participants with knowledge about what POSTnotes are and guidance on how to produce one. Our teams were then set loose to create a SIPnote of their own!
Friday 11th November, 9:30am-5:30pm, "Science in Policy Conference: The Place of Science in Policy-making"
We hosted our second bi-annual conference, 'The Place of Science in Policy-Making: discovering the potential of your research in the real world'. The day involved a series of talks, workshops and panel discussions exploring the place of science in policy-making and how to improve the impact of your research. Find ou
- A policymakers perspective of scientific evidence
- The political process and where to engage
- Horizon scanning for the future of science policy
More resources from the day to follow.
Friday 28th October, 3-4pm,"Introduction to Science Policy-including guest speaker from Government Office for Science"
This workshop introduced participants to the policy making process and the important role that science can play in informing this process. We also discussed science within Parliament, the role of the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, and how to explain your science in novel ways (including a box of chocolates as a prop!). Dr Daniel Leary from the Government Office for Science spoke about science and engineering in government and the role of the civil service.
Thursday 22nd September,2-5pm,"Science Policy Careers Workshop"
This event was aimed at PhD students and early-career researchers from the University of Sheffield, with talks from four science policy professionals:
- James Wilsdon, Director of Impact and Engagement, Faculty of Social Sciences, UoS
- Jenny Dibden, Director of Research Base at BIS
- Chris Peters, Scientific Liaison at Sense about Science
- Maria Thorpe, Policy Analyst at Dept for Work and Pensions
Monday 14th July,3-4pm-"Using the ecosystem services framework to link research and policy-making" by Yuan Pan
Yuan is a PhD student in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, studying the effects of chemical pollution on freshwater ecosystem services. Yuan talked to us about how the ecosystem services framework and public participation can be used to link scientific research and policy-making.
Monday 20th June, 1-2pm-"Facilitating knowledge-based management: interactions between researchers and policy-makers from village to government" by Professor Terry Callaghan"
Terry is an internationally leading scientist working on the impacts of Arctic climate change. Building from his high profile scientific work, Terry has become increasingly involved in the social and political dimensions of Arctic climate change. In recent years, he has engaged with groups of indigenous people in Scandinavia, helped negotiate a gigantic national park in Russia, and worked at the highest international level with government ministers and the IPCC, with whom he won a share of the Nobel Peace Prize. In collaboration with the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, Terry shared these experiences of moving from research to policy.
Friday 10th June, 11am-12 noon - "Putting happiness on the agenda" with Charles Seaford
Charles Seaford is Director of An Economy that Works, an alliance of businesses promoting polices to advance sustainability, social justice and wellbeing, and a consultant to the World Future Council. He was formerly Head of the Centre for Wellbeing at NEF where he led projects on wellbeing, indicators, housing and industrial policy. Charles talked to us about the importance of measuring wellbeing, its relevance to economic policy and if science can help policy makers introduce change. To find more about his talk, click here.
Monday 23rd May, 2-4pm - Building dialogues in your research
This workshop introduced attendees to the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), an approach that assesses the potential implications of research on society, by bringing it into the research process itself.
Thursday 28th April, 3-4pm - Talk by Saskia Richartz Deputy Director, Greenpeace European Unit
Saskia is the Deputy Director of Greenpeace European Unit, with fourteen years of experience in EU policy negotiations, of which eleven years with Greenpeace. She talked about why and how organisations, like Greenpeace, engage in policy work, what science they rely on and the role of the European Union in environmental law-making. She used examples from marine and fisheries policy to talk about the links between science and policy, and Greenpeace’s work in Brussels. To find out more about her talk, click here.
Tuesday 8th March, 6pm - 'Food Production, Health and the Environment'
Our panel of experts, including: Dr Chris Jones (Social and Environmental Psychologist), Dr Margo Barker (Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition), Sam Durham (Chief Land Management Adviser at the National Farmers' Union) and Dr Wayne Martindale (Centre for Food Innovation, Sheffield Hallam University), debated the sustainability of food production, and likely environmental and health implications, as well as the tricky issue of implementing associated public policies, with questions from the audience.
Monday 15th February, 10.15am - Talk and Q&A session with Paul Pearce-Kelly
Paul is part of the Climate Change Specialist Group of the IPCC and Senior Curator of Invertebrates at the Zoological Society of London. He gave a talk on his career path and on working with policy-makers, followed by Q&A.
Thursday 10th December, 5pm - SiP 'Have I Got News For You' style quiz
End-of-year quiz night including a spinning picture round, missing words and odd-one-out rounds... amongst festive and science policy related quiz questions. A great chance to have some fun after a year's hard work!
Tues 17th November, all day event - Trip to London -Tour of the Houses of Parliament and Select Committee session
Science in Policy took a group of 25 early career researchers on a day trip to Westminster. The group went on a tour of the Houses of Parliament, met with local MP, Paul Blomfield, sat in on select committee evidence sessions before watching buisness in the House of Commons from the viewing gallery. It was a day cram packed with everything from grandeur and tradition to the nitty gritty of public policy. Watch out for blogs on the day trip as part of our Westminster blog competition!
Friday 30th October, 12.30 - 3pm - Engaging with the new Parliament - a workshop with Parliamentary Outreach
Over 50 attendees joined us for an afternoon session learning how scientists can engage with policy-making and submit evidence to parliamentary inquiries. Guest speakers included: Lynn Hobson (Parliamentary Outreach), Dr Grahame Danby (Science Clerk from the House of Commons Sci and Tech Committee) and Dr Cat Ball (House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Policy Analyst).
Thursday 15th October, 3pm - "Introduction to science policy”. This workshop introduce participants to the policy making process and the important role that science can play in informing this process. We also discussed science within Parliament, the role of the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, and how to explain your science in novel ways (including a box of chocolates as a prop!).
Thurs 24th Sept - Science in Policy Question Time
Politics and science: a culture clash? An evening of lively debate on the fact, fiction, collaboration and conflict of science and policy. A public event featuring a panel from academic and policymaking backgrounds to discuss the role scientists and politicians should be playing in each others lives and the barriers that they face. For more information , please see our SiP Question Time page
Thursday 18th June - "EU Research Policy - Could you be a policy-maker? Our interactive workshop will show you how" by Dr Martin Penny
Dr Penny is head of Unit for Physical Sciences and Engineering in the Executive Agency of the European Research Council. He lead an interactive workshop giving participants the chance to experience what policy-making at the European level entails. He also gave a career talk and told us about EU-level working opportunities for researchers. This event was a collaboration between Science in Policy and Think Ahead.
Programme of the afternoon: 12.30 - 1.30 : Career talk / 1.30 - 4.30 : Workshop
Friday 15th May - Should Scientists be Advocates? - A talk and Q&A session with Dr Aaron Thierry, University of Edinburgh
Aaron is an ecologist at the University of Edinburgh, researching the biophysics and biogeochemistry of boreal ecosystems. He is also a climate change activist. In his talk he discussed his experiences of being involved with campaigning and advocacy whilst pursuing a scientific career, considering the ethical dilemmas which that raises, and asking the vital question "Should Scientists be Advocates?"
Friday 1st May 2015 - Dr. Simon Willcock from University of Southampton - Using the ecosystems approach to support evidence-based policy: the policy-maker's perspective. Simon talked about his research which aims to identify the needs of policy makers in sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore ensuring ES research is tailored to produce useful outputs.
Monday 16th February - "Hot topics in science and policy: a whistle-stop tour". Guest speaker Rt Hon. David Blunkett MP and speed presentations on POSTnote competition topics and awarding of POSTnote competition prizes, followed by a wine reception
Monday 2nd February - Joint all day event with Graduate Committee for APS PhD students: a careers workshop
Wednesday 14th January - Dr Carla-Leanne Washbourne, from University College London, presented a talk about her secondments at POST and the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, as well as her policy related research on ecosystem services in urban areas
8th December 2014 - Dr Rosie Woodroffe from the Zoological Society of London - Using science to foster the coexistence of people and wildlife
21st November 2014 - POSTnote workshop and competition: POST (Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology) produce short briefing notes (‘POSTnotes’) in order to help parliamentarians examine science and technology issues effectively. This workshop will provide an introduction to POSTnotes, and discuss how to produce a successful briefing note. Participants will then be divided into small groups and a topic provided. Groups will work together to create a briefing note over a period of a few months. Guidance will be provided in the form of drop-in help sessions arranged for December and January. The resulting documents will be judged and the winning team will receive a £500 prize.
7th November 2014 - SiP Conference: Science based policy or policy based science? Discovering the potential of your research in the real world.
See here for resources from the conference.
20th October 2014 - Dr Chris Peters, Scientific Liaison at Sense about Science. Chris will talk about 'Ask for Evidence - Sense About Science'
Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can't be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.
The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn, official bodies held to account and politicians forced to apologise.
This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.
4th July 2014 - Dr Martin Turner- Senior Policy Adviser at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) will talk about 'Lobbying for Science'. Martin will explain how charities influence the government to create a better environment for scientists in the UK. Taking two case studies from AMRC's work, he will share his experiences of lobbying for greater investment in science and in making the NHS the first health service in the world to have a legal duty to promote research
16th May 2014 - "An Introduction to Science Policy" half day workshop led by the Newton's Apple Foundation.
The organisation will bring governmental policymakers and other experts to Sheffield and these experts provide guidance about how to communicate science to policymakers.
Talks by 5 guest panellists followed by discussion and Q&A session:
-Science in Parliament- Andrew Miller MP;
-Science in Government - Dr Monica Darnbrough;
-Role of the Scientific Societies in Policy formation - Dr Stephen Benn,
-Can scientists influence policy? - Two Case Studies: “The 2008 Fertilisation and Embryology Act” Dr Ian Gibson, and “The EU Physical Agents Directive and its potential impact on use of MRI” - Dr Michael Elves.
2nd May 2014 - A talk by Dr Brian Crook, Microbiology Team Leader at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton, part of the Health and Safety Executive.
4th April 2014 - A talk by Dr Graham Hopkins exploring some of the issues standing in the way of delivering science based policy - a hot topic at the moment in science-policy! Title: "The barriers to implementing science-driven policy: Invertebrates & the Habitats and Environmental Impact Assessment Directives as a case study."
27th March 2014 - A talk and Q&A session by Angus Innes MBE, Prosecution Team Leader at the Environment Agency. Awarded an MBE for services to the prevention of environmental crime, his career has spanned from leading law advisory roles within the Environment Agency to member of State Parliament in Australia.
10th February 2014 - Juliette Young from the Spiral Project at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
6th December 2013 - Hayley Stevenson from the Department of Politics will talk about the global governance of climate change policy.
8th November 2013 - Talk by Dr Peter Bridgewater, chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, which advises the UK government on nature conservation issues, will be talking about "Life in the science-policy interface: high risk strategy or easy option?"
3rd October 2013 - Talk by Martin Smith, British Ecological Society policy manager on learned societies and their role, the links with policy and effective communication with policymakers.
22nd July 2013 - "Science in Parliament" talk by Xameerah Malik from the Parliamentary Select Committee for Science and Technology, followed by a Q&A session.
5th July 2013 - Our first workshop - a general introduction to policy making in government with a talk by Dr Ruth Little from the Department of Geography, followed an activity in smaller groups to complete an exercise looking at carbon dioxide reduction policies.
14th June 2013 - Our launch event was a talk by Dr Charlotte Bell, a PhD graduate from APS and currently a Living Rivers Officer at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.