By Jon Fitzmaurice, Head of Cultural Development at the British Science Association.


For two hours in January, science mattered in London.

The audience at the Campaign for Science and Engineering’s debate, made up of scientists and policy-wonks, listened intently as the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats outlined their policies for science if they won the General Election.

The politicians discussed investment in science, and how they would stimulate, innovate and improve science engagement in the UK – and it felt like science was important.

But as I travelled back home after the event, it didn’t feel like it was important. There was little or no mention of science in the newspaper and commuters certainly weren’t chatting about how science was vital in helping Britain in its economic recovery.

The next day at work, my colleagues and I discussed science’s role in the General Election. Would it be mentioned in the Leader’s Debates? Would Huw Edwards be talking about it on the News at Ten?

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen much coverage. Politicians use science to demonstrate how we cut the deficit and grow the economy and while this is important, it isn’t the whole story.

Science that has had a major impact on Britain, and the rest of the world, over the last five years. We’ve had battles over the badger cull, debates on fracking, plus the generational challenges of climate change and anti-microbial resistance. At the British Science Association, we really believe science affects us all.

So, we teamed up with journalist Susan Watts, former science editor of BBC Newsnight, to interview the science spokespeople from the main political parties in the run-up to the 2015 General Election and to give voters the chance to take part in the science conversation.

For the first time, we have the science spokespeople from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru all outlining their priorities for science, how they will make a difference and most importantly, how their policies will affect YOU.

In the closest General Election for generations, all the parties have put their science policies on show for you to judge them. Best of all, it clearly shows that the political parties agree with us that science does matter and should be a part of the election conversation. The British Science Association hopes the films start a few conversations in houses and offices across the UK, that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

While the BSA’s YouTube Channel certainly isn’t the News at Ten or ITV Leader’s Debate, we hope this is a small contribution to science playing a bigger part in the culture of the UK.

So with just under a month until the election, please watch the films and if you have any questions about the policies of the political parties approach your local candidate for an answer – and help us demonstrate that science matters all across the UK.