CSaP’s Science and Policy research programme carries out comparative empirical research on the relationship between scientific expertise, policy and politics. The aim is both to contribute to scholarship on the science-policy relationship, and also to inform our hands-on work to improve it.
The research programme is led by Dr Robert Doubleday and draws on a wide range of expertise from the social, natural and engineering sciences, as well as on the contribution of individuals with a wealth of practical experience of science and policy in action.
Controversy over global climate change, the sacking of David Nutt, and the lingering shadow of BSE all illustrate the importance to public policy of credible and effective scientific advice. While the challenges facing governments today place ever-increasing demands on scientific advice, there is also a widening appreciation of the complexity of relations between science and politics. In practical terms, scientific advisory processes must address the political implications of questions such as how relevant expertise is selected, how the quality of evidence is assessed, and how uncertainty is represented.
The programme will draw on research methods and insight from the field of science and technology studies about the production and circulation of scientific knowledge and its role in policy. In addition it will build research collaborations with engineering and natural sciences across the University of Cambridge and beyond.