Science Challenges

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The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research welcomed a number of distinguished academics to the University as it hosted a two-day workshop discussing the challenges facing science and technology in support of public policy.

Changes in public policy missions, shifts in the global production of scientific knowledge and technology, and the wider austerity agenda, are all placing significant pressures on science and technology in government, and the workshop explored how governments are coping with such challenges.

Dr Andrew James, Principal Investigator for the grant, commented: “Recent high profile events – whether they be the Ebola outbreak, the controversy over the culling of badgers or the appropriate response to global climate change – show the importance of scientific advice and its use to public policy. This conference addressed how such advice on science and technology can be most effectively used in the policy process and how policy makers can effectively engage with scientific expertise, whether that is in government labs, universities or the private sector”

Kieron Flanagan, one of the co-organisers, said: “We were pleased to be able to bring a distinguished group of UK and international scholars and practitioners together to discuss these important issues, and to hear about the emerging findings of our ongoing work on this topic. As we near completion of our work we will be disseminating our findings to policymakers and the wider public.”

The Manchester conference was funded as part of an 18 month AHRC-ESRC-DSTL grant “Science and technology in the service of the state”. The MIOIR research team  comprises Dr Andrew James (Principal Investigator), Professor Jakob Edler, Dr Kieron Flanagan, Dr John Rigby (co-Investigators), Deborah Cox, Dr Duncan Thomas and Dr Jillian Yeow.

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