For Thought is a unique thought-leadership programme from the British Science Association and partners, which gives leaders from business, policy, science and civil society a platform to address the key scientific and social challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

Society’s biggest challenges – pandemics, climate change, cyber-security, the future of cities, food security – require cross-cutting partnerships between science and the rest of society.

For Thought provides a platform to interrogate the key scientific and social challenges facing society; a forum to hear from diverse voices; and an opportunity to engage with individuals from outside your networks.

With a focus on outcomes and affecting long-term change, For Thought will establish clear calls to action from participants' discussions published in a report. 

Global, societal issues need thought, challenge and cross-sector leadership to turn discussion into action.

For more details, visit forthought.uk

Each event in the 2021 programme will feature panel discussions involving high profile speakers and experts. Invited attendees will then have the opportunity to network, exploring the topics in more depth in small groups.

A note from the BSA on For Thought, the new name for the Huxley Summit

Formerly known as the Huxley Summit, the BSA established this thought leadership Summit in 2016. We named it after self-taught scientist Thomas Huxley, as we felt he (and, specifically, the famous Huxley/Wilberforce debate at our annual meeting in 1860) epitomised the spirit of the Summit: a platform to exchange ideas on emerging topics and pressing issues.

Throughout the course of 2020, we began looking more deeply at Huxley. We found he held views on race and genetics that aren’t just antiquated by today’s standards, they are offensive; they do not represent our views, values, philosophy or focus, nor our diverse community of speakers and attendees.

We also reconsidered the format of the Summit, as in-person events became obsolete due to the coronavirus pandemic. While creating space for high-level discussions between leaders from business, policy, science and the media has never been more important, we felt it was important for the Summit to adapt accordingly.

We concluded that the "Huxley Summit" was no longer a suitable name for an event that has become known for inclusivity in its ethos, speakers and programme. We began a journey which culminated in For Thought.

We believe that the change in name:

  • Underlines the BSA’s organisational strategic focus on improving the equality, diversity and inclusivity of science and science engagement;
  • Mirrors the commitment to highlighting diverse voices and opinions, and attracting a diverse audience, that the Summit has become known for; and
  • Reflects the shift from a one-day Summit to a continuous programme of events and activities.

We believe that the change in format will bring the following benefits:

  • Create more opportunities for stakeholder involvement;
  • Increase the impact of For Thought, through co-creation and development of calls to actions for institutions, businesses, governments and individual leaders;
  • Extend the reach of the programme – in terms of absolute numbers, geography, accessibility – and facilitate the involvement of more international speakers.

For Thought will continue to build on the success, and deliver on the aims, of previous Summits bringing together 300 senior leaders and influencers from business, policy, science and media to address societal challenges facing the UK and the wider world.

How can I get involved?

For sponsorship and partnership enquiries, please contact Amy MacLaren, Director of External Relations.

For enquiries around content and event invitations, please contact Jon Fitzmaurice, Head of Policy, Partnerships & Impact.

To be added to our press list, please contact Louise Ogden, Head of Communications.