CSaP celebrates its fifth anniversary

2 October 2014


2 October 2014, Royal Academy of Engineering

Reported by Henry Rex, CSaP Policy & Communications Officer.

This year's Annual Reception celebrated CSaP's numerous achievements over our first five years, and looked forward to what we hope to achieve during the year ahead.

Around 150 of our closest collaborators, partners and supporters joined the celebration at the Royal Academy of Engineering to meet like minded people, and to hear our distinguished speakers – Sue Owen (Permanent Secretary of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and a CSaP Policy Leaders Fellow) and Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge).

"It's even more important now that we have links into research"

Sue Owen spoke of how, after 10 years as an academic, she entered the Treasury assuming that policy was informed by evidence - which raised a few smiles in the audience – but in those days the Treasury did at least do some primary research.

Now, practically no Government department does its own research, and with "resources so tight, its even more important that we have fantastic links into academia and research." Hence the importance of organisations like CSaP. To hear Sue's speech in full, click on the image above.

"CSaP remains at the forefront of what the university is trying to do."

Sir Leszek opened his remarks by thanking everyone present for their enormous contribution to CSaP's success, none more so than David Harding, without whom "this whole project would never ever have got off the ground".

He praised CSaP's central contribution to the University's mission, saying that, "CSaP remains at the forefront of what the university is trying to do" – for how can the University contribute to society, "if we cannot take the research that is conducted at the highest levels of the University into meaningful developments that society can genuinely benefit from."

He illustrated his point with a stark example, not from his own field of immunology, but from agriculture: in 30 years there will be 2 billion more people on the planet, which will require a 40% increase in arable crop production. Which means there are 30 growing seasons in which to experiment in order to achieve this increase in yield and make sure it is ready for adoption. "That isn't going to happen in ivory towers", he said, "And it is not going to happen without the full engagement of society as a whole."

The policy challenges the world faces are urgent, and will require co-operation. And so the Vice-Chancellor praised the interdisciplinary nature of CSaP, which enables academics from all areas to play their part in engaging with policy-makers. To hear the Vice-Chancellor's speech in full, click on the image above.

"Policy Fellows at the heart of everything we do"

In conclusion, David Cleevely, CSaP's Founding Director played tribute to the Policy Fellows network, who he said were "at the heart of everything we do" with 4,000 connections having been made between policy makers and academics over the past four years.

David reiterated CSaP's mission to improve the way in which evidence gets used in policy, and hat-tipped those in the room from other organisations who are also working towards this end.

He recounted come of the highlights of the past year, such as our Policy Challenges, Professional Development, and Research Programmes, and pointed out that for every pound that has been donated, CSaP has generated four or five pounds worth of activity. He ended by speaking about the work that CSaP is undertaking on the importance of networks via its new Horn Fellowship, before thanking all those present and encouraging them to return to their conversations. To hear David's speech in full, click on the image above.

The Centre for Science and Policy would like to thank all those who took part in the Reception, and in particular the speakers.

Banner image from Maximilian Schiffer on Flickr