Newsletter December 2010/January 2011
Message from the Executive Director
This month we launched our second Annual Report. It reflects on the year behind us: the development of the Centre Interest Groups and their Policy Workshops; the launch of the Policy Fellowships Programme and the Professional Development Programme; the Distinguished Lecture Series; the start of development of an MPhil in Public Policy; and our first steps towards research into the relationship between science and policy.
The Annual Report also includes the very long list of people in Cambridge, Whitehall and elsewhere who have contributed to making the year such a good one. There are 227 names on the list - for a networking organisation, the length and quality of this list is the ultimate measure of success. Our thanks once again to all of you for your contributions - we look forward to continuing to work with you in 2011.
This edition of our newsletter covers what happened at the end of 2010 and the start of 2011:
Happy New Year!
Dr Chris Tyler
New Year Reception
We marked the success of the Centre so far, the New Year, and the launch of our Annual Report with a Reception in the Old Schools in Cambridge on 11 January. This brought together 170 members of our Network to hear from the Founding Director of the Centre, Dr David Cleevely, the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, and the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington. As well as hearing three thoughtful (and entertaining) presentations, our guests had the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and friends, and connect to new people sharing an interest in applying research to the challenges faced by government.
You can read more about the event here.
Policy Workshop on Innovation
On 25 November 2010, we partnered with the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK-IRC) to deliver a workshop on innovation for senior policy makers from several Government Departments: MoD, DH, CLG, BIS, DECC, DfT, and the Home Office. The meeting covered a broad range of topics, including dialogue with supply chains, scalability, diffusion, adoption, timing and time constraints, intelligent customers, lead customers, enacting change, open versus closed systems, competitive pressures, and architecture and modularisation. For a summary of the discussions, please see here.
Parliamentary Seminar on How Children Learn
On 25 January 2011, CSaP and Cambridge Assessment jointly delivered a seminar for Parliamentarians on the subject of "how children learn", with contributions from Professor Usha Goswami (University of Cambridge) on how children learn in the early years, Professor Robert Burden (University of Exeter) on secondary education, and Professor Trevor Robbins (University of Cambridge) on the differences between perceptual, conceptual and factual learning and on the key "break points" in learning which may not be recognised in education policy.
Discussion at the seminar ranged widely across a number of topics, including when to start school, when to test, whether there is any rationale for the "infant/junior/secondary" structure of schooling, the role of play-based learning in the earliest years, and what the study of special needs tells us about how children learn generally. The meeting also discussed the role of evidence in the development of education policy, noting in particular that educational policy directly affects a lot of people (whether as teachers, students or parents), all of whom have an opinion about educational policy; this makes the application of evidence-based policy more difficult where it clashes with public opinion.
For more information on the seminar, see here.
Science and Policy Research Questions
The response to our call for questions on the relationship between science and policy has been excellent. To date, we have received more than 200 questions from 40 people and organisations. The coverage of the questions is broad and the range of contributors impressive. If you haven't yet sent in your questions, it's not too late - for more information, please visit our website. The next stage of the process will be to run a workshop on 7 April to narrow these questions down. If you are taking part in this exercise, we will be in touch soon.