Science and Society strategy
The government’s long-term action plan for science and society in the UK is progressing through the work of its five strategy groups. One of them, the Science for All Group, has developed a shared vision for public engagement and a description of the rationales and purposes underlying this activity.
Over 20 organizations from industry, government departments and agencies, charities and higher education establishments met in October to share how their organisations have embedded public participation in their processes, governance, and thinking. Science for All will incorporate their experiences into an action plan being developed to show how partners can enhance public participation within their organizations.
Science and the Media
By mid-November, the Science and the Media Group had met three times and covered science journalism training, science programming and the future of science journalism in the digital age. The group is considering offering training content to university journalism courses and collecting some science champions to lobby broadcasters for the best science programmes.
Check out the latest on all the Science and Society Strategy Groups at http://interactive.dius.gov.uk/scienceandsociety/site/ .
The Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre for Public Dialogue, which is funded by BIS, is supporting a range of exciting new dialogue projects in association with a number of government departments, agencies and research councils.
One new project is on synthetic biology. This is an emerging, multidisciplinary research area that aims to design and engineer biologically based parts, novel devices and systems as well as redesigning existing, natural biological systems. As with any new technology, it brings both potential benefits and societal, ethical and regulatory implications.
Other projects cover consumer engagement on GM food, geoengineering, the use of animals containing human material in medical research and, finally, the low carbon communities challenge.
More details for all of these will appear on the Sciencewise website as they get up and running: http://www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/ .
Science: [So what? So holidays]
Although not a barbecue summer, it was certainly a sizzling August for visitors to six major UK seaside resorts. They were waylaid by a team of Science: [So what? So everything] seaside scientists and regaled with a range of science stunts. These science buskers were trained and led by Edcoms science communicators and recruited from the STEMNET ambassador network. This tactic met with a positive response on the promenade but also achieved significant media coverage, including local TV.
The biggest PR success since the campaign launched in January 2009 was the initiative, The Questions Kids Ask. This was a poll for the most popular science questions asked by children of their parents, backed up with authoritative answers. It resulted in headline coverage on ITN news as well as extensive national print and on-line coverage. It generated around 32,000 hits on the campaign web site in two days, becoming the third most read story on the BBC news website.
The campaign’s website has been recently upgraded to be more interactive. If you think you have a good science story to include, please send it to the Science and Society team.
The new website can be found at the old address: http://sciencesowhat.direct.gov.uk/ .
Lord Mandelson has announced a review of the UK's postgraduate provision, to be led by Professor Adrian Smith, Director General of Science and Research at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The review's four principal areas of investigation will be global competitiveness, the benefits of study, the needs of employers and participation in terms of access and diversity.
We encourage you to submit your perspectives on areas of postgraduate provision that should be considered by the review. These can be submitted via www.bis.gov.uk/pgreview  or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Science and Society team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)