The Centre for Science and Policy was launched in 2009 following donations from the David Harding Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust.

Cambridge University Government Policy Programme (1998 - 2007)

The Centre was built on the success of the Cambridge University Government Policy Programme (CUGPOP) which was set up to promote understanding of scientific and technological advances, and their implications for government planning and policy.

CUGPOP's founders were Professor Sir Gabriel Horn (chair), Lord Eatwell, Sir Bob Hepple and Sir David King. Lord Rees then joined the Committee, replacing Sir David King who had been appointed Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government in 2000. Lord Eatwell and Lord Rees went on to serve on CSaP's Executive Committee between 2008 and 2015.

CUGPOP organised sixteen one-day seminars on different topics, attended by high-level policy professionals and leading scientists. The policy professionals, many of whom had little scientific background, were briefed by the scientists; all participated in free discussion of the issues.

CUGPOP was successful in its mission of promoting a greater understanding of science among policy professionals. The programme was cited in a report by the Council for Science and Technology on How Academia and Government Can Work Together (2008) as a good example of communication and collaboration in practice. This report recommended further capacity-building activities to enhance the engagement between policy professionals and academics, and to bring about better-informed public policy. It is this need that the Centre for Science and Policy was set up to address.

David Cleevely, Founding Director (2008 - 2015) and Advisory Council Chair (2015-2018)

David Cleevely established the Centre with three founding principles that have shaped our development: an attention to the questions and constraints of policy professionals; a commitment to fostering networks based on mutual understanding, respect and trust; and a willingness to experiment, learn and adapt. After stepping down as Founding Director David became the first Chair of CSaP's Advisory Council.

On completion of his term as Chair of the Advisory Council in June 2018 David Cleevely was invited to give a lecture to mark his ten-year contribution to CSaP. You can watch the lecture, which sets out the history of CSaP and lessons learned over its first ten years here: Two cultures: can policy makers and academic institutions ever work together effectively?