University of Cambridge


The Centre for Science and Policy

Future directions for scientific advice in Whitehall

A collection of essays

Available to DOWNLOAD HERE

Edited by Robert Doubleday and James Wilsdon

A collection of essays based on a recent series of seminars to stimulate fresh thinking and practical recommendations on future directions in scientific advice in Whitehall, will be launched at the CSaP annual conference on 18 April in London.

This project is a collaborative initiative of five partners: University of Cambridge’s Centre for Science and Policy; Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and ESRC STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex; Alliance for Useful Evidence; Institute for Government; and Sciencewise-ERC.

Previewed essays

Some of the essays from the collection have been previewed on The Guardian's Political Science blog:

The science and art of effective advice by Sir John Beddington

Experts and experimental government by Geoff Mulgan

Watching the watchers: lessons from the science of science advice by Sheila Jasanoff

Will civil service reform improve Whitehall's use of expert advice? by Jill Rutter

The benefits of hindsight: how history can contribute to science policy by Rebekah Higgitt and James Wilsdon

The politics of posterity: expert advice and long-term decision making by Natalie Day

Letter from America: a memo to chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport by Roger Pielke Jr

The crowded chasm: the place of science in the Australian government by Paul Harris

The power of 'you'? Science policy below the line by Alice Bell

For further details of the seminar series including write-ups and videos, please click on the links below:

Future Directions seminar series

Seminar 1: Culture clash – bridging the divide between science and policy
20 November 2012, hosted by the Institute for Government.

Seminar 2: Broadening the evidence base: science and social science in social policy
8 January 2013, hosted by The Alliance of Useful Evidence.

Seminar 3: Experts, publics and open policy
15 January 2013, hosted by Lord Krebs at the House of Lords.

Seminar 4: Credibility across cultures: the international politics of scientific advice
6 & 7 Feburary 2013, hosted by the STEPS Centre and SPRU at the University of Sussex.

CSaP Annual Conference: Future Directions for scientific advice in Whitehall, 18 April 2013

For more information, please contact Dr Robert Doubleday at