Science and Society, 20 years on: legacy and lessons for a post-Covid world

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We invite you to Join Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, and Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UKRI.

About this Event

This year marks twenty years since the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published its seminal report on Science and Society. Produced in the wake of high-profile challenges to the authority of British science – over BSE and GM crops – the report diagnosed a “crisis of confidence” in science and technology, and called for the research community to move beyond a focus on public understanding to embrace “a new mood for dialogue”.

The Science and Society report was hugely influential at the time and is widely credited with triggering a policy and institutional shift towards public engagement, dialogue and deliberation. The report has fresh salience today, both in light of increasing Government investment in R&D and intense debates over evidence, uncertainty and decision-making throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

To mark this anniversary, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Research on Research Institute (RoRI) are organising a half-day online event on 22 September 2020. Our first panel will include contributions from Brian Wynne, Emeritus Professor of Science Studies, Lancaster University and special advisor to the original Lords’ Committee, and from Fiona Fox, Director of the Science Media Centre, which was founded as a direct consequence of the report. Our second panel will explore the continued importance of these debates, and their future directions. Finally, we will present new data from UKRI and Ipsos MORI’s Trust in Science Tracker, which has been monitoring how the public’s trust in science and scientists has evolved over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please join us to reflect on the past, present and future of science and society, at a time when meaningful forms of public engagement in research and innovation have rarely been more important.


09.30 Welcome & opening remarks - Professor James Wilsdon, Director, RoRI

09.35 Speech - Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation

09.45 Session 1 - Science and Society: context, impacts & legacy

  • Fiona Fox OBE, Director, Science Media Centre
  • Clare Matterson CBE, Executive Director of Engagement, Natural History Museum
  • Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies, Imperial College London
  • Professor Brian Wynne, Emeritus Professor of Science Studies, Lancaster University

10.50 Comfort break

11.00 Session 2 - Science and Society: priorities & pointers for a post-Covid world

  • Sarah Castell, Head of Futures, Ipsos MORI
  • Imran Khan, Head of Public Engagement, Wellcome
  • Dr Hamied Haroon, Research Associate at The University of Manchester and Chair of the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN)
  • Dr Erinma Ochu, Interim Director, Engaging Environments
  • Dr Jack Stilgoe, Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies, UCL

12:10 Closing remarks - Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO, UKRI

This event will be recorded. To be notified when it is available to watch, please email with the subject 'Science and Society' recording.

If you would like to Tweet about the event you can tag us using @UKRI_News and @RoRInstitute. The hashtag is #SciSociety20

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