Feeds

Minister calls for boffins to engage with public

And for government to listen to advice...

High performance access to file storage

Minister for Innovation John Denham said the scientific community needs to improve its engagement with the public and that government needs to pay more attention to science when making policy.

Speaking to the Royal Society for Encouragement of the Arts, Commerce, and Manufacturers yesterday, Denham said scientific advice should be a key part of all government decision making and that government should change funding systems to reward boffins for making this happen.

Denham said: "If policy makers do not have access to world class scientific evidence and advice, we will not be able to make the best decisions about the tough challenges facing the country. If the public do not have the capacity to understand scientific evidence and risk, they face being unable to make the best decisions for themselves and their families or, in a democracy, put the most appropriate pressure on politicians."

On funding, Denham said the government spends nearly £6bn on research but can still find it hard to get the right advice. Equally, scientists can find they do not get financially rewarded for the advice they do give.

Denham said: "My concern is there may be disincentives in the system that emphasise published and peer-reviewed work over public policy advice. The work that some scientists and academic departments do to support policy makers can be undervalued."

Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, welcomed the speech and said: "When I first tried to engage society with my work as a young researcher, colleagues often saw this as irrelevant and 'not real science'. So often, science was the preserve of boffins working behind closed doors. But we now recognise that public engagement with science is vital if we are to make progress as a society."

The government is currently reviewing science funding in the UK.

The speech is available here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.