Experts, publics and open policy

15 January 2013, 5pm

15 January 2013 (17:00 - 19:00 including networking)

Organised by Sciencewise-ERC, and hosted by Lord Krebs at the House of Lords

The civil service reform plan makes ‘open policy making’ the new default. This identifies the potential that collecting ‘social intelligence’, through processes such as ‘crowdsourcing’, has for improving policy making. This seminar, and the resulting paper, will explore a range of questions, including:

  • What opportunities does the civil service reform plan offer those wanting a greater role for the public voice in policy making, for example through public dialogue?
  • What barriers are there to enhancing the public voice within the policy process?
  • Is there a risk that evidence about public opinion and attitude will replace more rigorous evidence, or will such evidence always be marginalised when put up against harder economic or scientific evidence?
  • At the same time, how can expert advice take better account of the diverse insights and forms of ‘social intelligence’ that can be drawn from civil society and wider publics?
  • How do policy makers balance different forms of evidence?
  • How do we draw lines and distinguish between the roles of open policy, crowdsourcing and public engagement?
  • And how do these dynamics play out in controversial areas, where public values and attitudes may be at odds with prevailing scientific views?

Details of this seminar can be found here.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Gemma Harper, Chief Social Researcher, DEFRA
  • Sir Roland Jackson, CEO, British Science Association
  • Lord Krebs, Chair, House of Lords Science & Technology Committee
  • Dr Jack Stilgoe, Lecturer in Social Studies of Science, UCL Department of Science & Technology Studies


House of Lords
Committee Room 4a
Palace of Westminster


This event is now fully subscribed. To add your name to the waiting list, please email Henry Rex.


Other seminars in this series

This is the third 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 4: Credibility across cultures: the international politics of scientific advice
6 & 7 Feburary 2013 (starting with dinner on 6 February). Hosted by the STEPS Centre and SPRU at the University of Sussex.

Dr Gemma Harper

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

Lord John Krebs

British Science Association

Professor Jack Stilgoe

University College London (UCL)