University of Cambridge


The Centre for Science and Policy

Professional Development Policy Seminar for engineers

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The Centre for Science and Policy and the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge are working together to deliver a Professional Development Policy Seminar for early career researchers, introducing them to the opportunities and the realities of engaging with policy. The seminar, which will have an engineering focus, will take place on Friday 9 December in Cambridge.

Seminar Format

Session 1: Presentations from academics who have been engaged in the policy process
Academics discuss the role they played in policy – how the process worked and the challenges they faced – to an audience of early career researchers and policy makers.

Session 2: Break-out and report-back session
Early career researchers (with help from the academics) break into groups to discuss their ideas for improving the policy process, and feed their conclusions back to a panel of policy makers.

Session 3: Response from policy makers
Policy makers respond to the earlier discussions and feedback from early career researchers, and discusses how science advice is sought. They will also provide advice to early career researchers on how the science community might best engage with policy makers.


  • 13:40 Arrival and Tea
  • 14:00 Welcome & Introductions (Philip Guildford, Director of Research, Dept of Engineering, Cambridge and Chris Tyler, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Policy, Cambridge)
  • 14:10 Session 1 (Academics)
  • 14:50 Q&A
  • 15:10 Session 2 (Break out groups)
  • 16:00 Tea and report back to policy makers
  • 16:30 Session 3 (Policy makers)
  • 17:10 Q&A followed by discussion
  • 17:50 Wrap up
  • 18:00 Drinks & networking

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Brian Collins (former Chief Scientific Adviser for BIS and DfT)
  • Professor Dame Ann Dowling (Head of the Department of Engineering, Cambridge)
  • Professor Robert Mair (Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cambridge)
  • Dr Rob Phaal (Principle Research Associate, Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge)
  • Dr Chris McFee (Head of Civil Contingencies Team, Government Office for Science)
  • Professor Ian Poll (Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Cranfield University and Chairman of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC))
  • Professor Jeremy Watson (CSA for the Department of Communities and Local Government)
  • Dr Tony Whitehead (Director of Governance and Policy, IET)

The purpose of the seminar is to bring together policy makers and researchers working on engineering issues, who wish to engage in discussion and debate and think longer term about career paths and goals.

How to apply

This seminar has been designed for an audience of early career engineers - post docs, PhD students and early career lecturers. If you would like to take part, please complete the application form and return to Jackie Ouchikh with a brief biography or CV and 200-300 words on what you hope to get out of the day. Please note that places are limited so an early response is advised.