The Centre for Science and Policy was launched in 2009 following donations from the David Harding Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust.

Cambridge University Government Policy Programme (1998 - 2006)

The Centre was built on the success of the Cambridge University Government Policy Programme (CUGPOP) which was set up to promote understanding of scientific and technological advances, and their implications for government planning and policy.

CUGPOP’s founders – Sir Gabriel Horn (Chair), Lord Eatwell, Sir Bob Hepple and Lord Rees – organised sixteen one-day seminars on different topics, attended by high-level policy professionals and leading scientists. The policy professionals, many of whom had little scientific background, were briefed by the scientists; all participated in free discussion of the issues.

CUGPOP was extremely successful in its mission and revealed a gulf in understanding between policy professionals and scientists. The programme was cited in a report by the Council for Science and Technology on How Academia and Government Can Work Together (2008) as a good example of communication and collaboration in practice. This report recommended further capacity-building activities to enhance the engagement between policy professionals and academics, and to bring about better-informed, evidence-based public policy. It is this need that the Centre for Science and Policy was set up to address.

David Cleevely, Founding Director (2008 - 2015)

David Cleevely established the Centre with three founding principles that have shaped our development: an attention to the questions and constraints of policy professionals; a commitment to fostering networks based on mutual understanding, respect and trust; and a willingness to experiment, learn and adapt.