Annual Conference 2017

How does academia contribute to the work of government?


Our 2017 annual conference brought together 150 members of our extensive network to discuss some of the opportunities for policy makers at both local and national levels to draw on academic expertise in support of more effective public policy.


Topics covered at our conference ranged from the future of the internet, social cohesion, and devolution to ecosystems services, data analytics, and industrial strategy and the role of place.

To listen to the talks, click on the links below.
For a full list of speakers and topics, please download a copy of the conference agenda.

How does academia contribute to the work of government?

Sir Chris Wormald, Head of the Civil Service Policy Profession, kicked off CSaP’s 2017 annual conference with a talk on how government and academia work together and, more importantly, how they could improve the way they work together going forward.

View Chris Wormald's presentation

Social cohesion, commitment and trust

With a mixed panel of local authority policy makers and academics from behavioural psychology, this session sought to explore the laden concept of social cohesion. Discussion was chaired by Julia Unwin, who set the scene by recognising the challenges of better defining the concept, calling for a more nuanced understanding of local community dynamics before social cohesion is recommended as a catch-all policy prescription.

View S van der Linden's presentation

Devolution in England

At city level, England is dominated both politically and economically by London. For some time, central and local areas in England have been arguing that devolution is needed to stimulate local growth and join up local services. Chaired by Professor Michael Kenny at the University of Cambridge, speakers from the Institute for Government; Greater Manchester Combined Authority; and Exeter City Futures discussed this important issue.

Insights from data - analytics to AI

The use of data in policy is possibly one of the most interesting and important issues to talk about at the moment. As well as promising new ways of developing and delivering policy, it raises its own issues in areas such as autonomous vehicles and predictive policing. Data analytics is deeply technical, fast moving, and cross disciplinary, and it interacts with some of the core issues of democracy, security and efficiency.

View Stephen Aldridge's presentation
View John Aston's presentation
View Neil Lawrence's presentation

The future of the internet

How can academics and policy makers together influence the future of the internet? There is no denying the pervasiveness of the internet in the modern world, and its influence will only grow in the years to come. How can the UK shape policy to guide where the internet will take us in the future? In this session Robert Madelin, Gila Sacks, Jon Crowcroft, and Lorna Woods lead us on a scintillating discussion surveying what is known and unknown about the future of governing the internet and how policy will keep pace with this ever evolving entity.

Industrial strategy and the role of place

While there’s a lot of interest and a lot of history on industrial strategy, there’s never been a coherent view of place-making. It’s clear that places are not all the same, and grappling with the problem of place in the context of industrial strategy is very difficult to do. Chaired by Dame Kate Barker, this session aims to provide clarity on what it’s possible to achieve.

Towards a British Ecosystems Services Policy

The current policy landscape is one in which policy makers are operating in a time of huge uncertainty, with the potential for large-scale and fundamental changes to the UK policy on all areas of agriculture, food and farming. This session addresses rural land and agriculture policy, as well as cities and urban spaces, within the context of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

View Ian Hodge's presentation

The future of mobility

What opportunities could the transport system of the future provide and what are the implications for government and society? This session chaired by Matthew Niblett, Director of the Independent Transport Commission, discusses the importance of transport; the interactions of people and technology; the changes to business models; and scenarios to help government plan for the future.

View Rupert Wilmouth's presentation
View Charlene Rohr's presentation
View John Miles' presentation

Life sciences strategy & growth

How can we maximise the impact that the life sciences will have on the UK’s economic future and growth? What are the levers and incentives that government can use to make the most of this fascinating area? The growth we need to match our European counterparts over the next 10 – 15 years is significant. How can government create an environment in which the private sector can fully participate in the growth of the life sciences sector along with the charitable, academic and research sectors?

View Jon Sussex's presentation
View Jo Dally's presentation
View Simon Greaves' presentation

Here is a snapshot of the #CSaP2017 annual conference


  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

    The RSC is the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences. Supported by a worldwide network of members and an international publishing business, its activities span education, conferences, science policy and the promotion of chemistry to the public.
  • The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States

    The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to American students for a year of Master’s study in science, mathematics, and engineering at the University of Cambridge, based at Churchill College. The Scholarship was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfil his vision of US-UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security.