The Centre for Science and Policy held its Annual Reception on 6 December 2022 at the Royal Academy of Engineering to thank policy professionals and researchers who have engaged and collaborated with the Centre throughout the year.
Welcoming more than 160 guests from CSaP's network of academics and policy professionals, Executive Director, Dr Rob Doubleday, thanked all those who had contributed towards CSaP's success since its launch in 2009.
Importance of evidence culture
Guest speaker, Sir Chris Wormald – Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care – highlighted the difficulty for policy makers to reach out to academic experts beyond their own networks, and the crucial role that CSaP plays in bridging this gap. He emphasised the importance of evidence culture and a mutual and nurturing relationship between researchers and policy makers. While policy makers fundamentally decide policies based on available evidence, researchers strive to find ways to gain new knowledge and build the evidence base. Sir Chris argued that these two objectives were essential aspects of evidence culture which must intersect to ensure policy makers are informed adequately as well as to make the research helpful.
New focus on connectivity
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Regius Professor of Botany at Cambridge agreed that organisations like CSaP, which create opportunities for policymakers and researchers to learn from each other, have extraordinary value. She argued, however, that having good policies and/or sound research is not enough while there is a lack of connectivity between the investment community and the research base. Dame Ottoline noted that both CSaP and UKRI connect research communities, businesses, institutions, and the public and so are inherently connected. However, there was a need for a "new focus on connectivity" in order to close the gap between policy makers and researchers.