Credibility across cultures: expertise, uncertainty and the global politics of scientific advice

6 February 2013


6 & 7 February 2013 (A two-day seminar starting with dinner on 6 February)

Hosted by The STEPS Centre and SPRU at the University of Sussex

Worldwide, we see novel structures for scientific advice being put in place: both through new institutions like the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and the appointment of UK-style CSAs at the European Commission, in Ireland, New Zealand and Japan. This one-day event, which will be hosted by the STEPS Centre as its annual symposium, will look at international lessons with relevance for scientific advice in the UK.

These issues were magnified in the run-up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012, and in debates over what should succeed the Millennium Development Goals. Tackling the sustainability and development challenges of the 21stcentury will undoubtedly require the ‘best available’ scientific advice: to measure progress; to predict impacts; to identify solutions; and to evaluate options and pathways for decision-making. But what is ‘best advice’, and how might this idea need to be re-thought?

Coverage of this event can be found here.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Alice Bell, Research Fellow and Head of Public Engagement, SPRU, University of Sussex
  • Professor Carl Folke, Scientific Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor to the President, European Commission
  • Professor Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Adviser, Oxfam UK
  • Dr Dipak Gyawali, Pragya, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology
  • Professor Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change, University of East Anglia
  • Professor Alan Irwin, Dean of Research, Copenhagen Business School
  • Professor Roger Pielke, Professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Dr Suman Sahai, Convenor, GeneCampaign
  • Professor David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  • Professor Sir Robert Watson, Former Chief Scientific Advisor, DEFRA
  • Professor Chris Whitty, Director Research & Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser, DFID
  • Professor James Wilsdon, Professor of Science and Democracy, Sussex University
  • Professor Brian Wynne, CESAGEN Professor, University of Lancaster


To register your attendance at this seminar, please send an email to: h.dudley@ids.ac.uk


Other seminars in this series

This is the final in a series of four seminars looking at ways in which government can make more effective use of scientists and scientific advice to improve policymaking. This shared initiative of five partners – The Institute for Government (IfG); The Alliance for Useful Evidence; The University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP); SPRU and the ESRC STEPS Centre at Sussex University; and Sciencewise-ERC – will stimulate fresh thinking and practical recommendations on future directions for scientific advice in Whitehall, and will lead to the publication of a report and a final conference in London in April 2013.

For more information on other seminars in this series, and to register to attend , please follow the links below:

Seminar 1: Culture clash – bridging the divide between science and policy
20 November 2012 (18:00 - 19:30 followed by drinks). Hosted by the Institute for Government at IfG.

Seminar 2: Broadening the evidence base: science and social science in social policy
8 January 2013 (12:00 - 14:00 including lunch). Hosted by the Alliance of Useful Evidence at Nesta.

Seminar 3: Experts, publics and open policy
15 January 2013 (17:00 - 19:00 including networking). Organised by Sciencewise-ERC, and hosted by Lord Krebs at the House of Lords.

Professor Mike Hulme

University of Cambridge

Professor Susan Owens

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

Faculty of Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Professor Sir Robert Watson

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Professor Christopher Whitty

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Professor James Wilsdon

University College London (UCL), Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP)

Professor Brian Wynne

Lancaster University