The Imperial Policy Forum hosts regular events bringing together academia, industry and policymakers.
Science & Policymaking: In-conversation with Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
17:15 - 18:00, Wednesday 7 June
Imperial Policy Forum will host Professor Charlotte Watts, CSA at the FCDO for an in-conversation event with Professor Mary Ryan, (Vice-Provost, Research and Enterprise). The talk will focus on Professor Watts' experience at a scientist in government and how FCDO uses evidence to inform its policymaking across a range of areas, particularly in international development.
Open to staff & students, please sign up here https://www.imperial.ac.uk/events/161427/science-and-policymaking-in-conversation-with-professor-charlotte-watts-cmg/
Discover our past events and workshops
CSA Lecture Series: Dr Mike Short, Chief Scientific Adviser at DIT
Imperial Policy Forum welcomed Dr Mike Short CBE, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Trade. Dr Short was in-conversation with Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise, discussing his role providing scientific and engineering advice to government and taking questions from the audience.
Dr Short joined the Department for International Trade as Chief Scientific Adviser in 2017 having spent 30 years working in telecommunications. He leads the science and engineering profession in the department to support inward investment and engineering collaboration. He spent 17 years with Telefonica becoming Vice President. He managed the launch of 2G and 3G mobile technologies in the UK and led international research and innovation for Telefonica Europe. He is a visiting professor at several universities and has led collaborations in areas such as smart cities, digital healthcare, cybersecurity, and driverless vehicles.
You can read about the event here.
In conversation with Professor Neil Ferguson: the next phase of the COVID-19 crisis
Monday 6 September 2021, 13:00 - 14:00
As one of the UK’s top epidemiologists and the head of the influential modelling group at Imperial College London, Professor Neil Ferguson has played a critical role in providing advice during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as previous crises including foot and mouth. In conversation with Bronwen Maddox, Director of the Institute for Government, Professor Ferguson discussed the lessons he has learned about advising government, the role of scientific modelling in informing decision making and how scientists should communicate with the public. You can read about the event here.
A plan for fairly decarbonising how people travel (roundtable) - June 2021
The Forum and Transition to Zero Pollution initiative sponsored a roundtable and report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on zero-pollution transport. The report, A plan for fairly decarbonising how people travel, was published in June 2021. The private roundtable event featured Imperial’s Professor Robert Shorten, alongside Huw Merriman MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Minister for Green Transport and Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the Welsh Government.
The future of wearable technologies (panel discussion) - June 2021
Imperial's Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering have written a Briefing Paper on what the blurring of the divide between wellness devices (for example, the Apple Watch) and medical devices could mean for data misuse and privacy. Considering there is already concern about what happens to a user’s personal data once it leaves a wearable device, the ability of future wellness devices to monitor more about us will only exacerbate this concern. Co-hosted with The Forum, this panel featured academics, policymakers and industry who debated the key issues.
How should scientists inform policy making in a crisis? (Roundtable) - May 2021
The Forum and the Institute for Government hosted a private roundtable that brought together scientists from inside and outside government – and those with experience of advising governments in the UK and other countries – to reflect on the lessons they would draw about how to engage with policy making during crises. Imperial's Professor Helen Ward, Professor of Public Health and Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine joined other academics, scientific advisers and officials to discuss how scientists can best support policymaking in crises.
Facial recognition technology: can it be used responsibly? (Panel discussion) - May 2021
With the recent release of the European Commission's proposed rules and actions on the use of AI, The Forum hosted an expert panel discussion around how policymakers can approach regulating emerging technologies, focussing on the example of facial recognition technology. Do the benefits of the technology outweigh the risks, and how can we ensure that fundamental rights and privacy are safeguarded? Read more.
Melissa Heikkilä, AI Correspondent for Politico chaired the event. On the panel to discuss the issues were:
- Dr Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics, Imperial College London and Special Adviser on AI and Data Protection to Commissioner Reynders
- Karen Melchior, Lawyer and Member of the European Parliament; Member of the Committees on Legal Affairs
- Professor Fraser Sampson, UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner and Honorary Professor, Sheffield Hallam University
- Nathalie Smuha, Assistant Lecturer in Law and Ethics of AI and Technology, KU Leuven
Algorithmic transparency in the public sector (hackathon) - April 2021
Greater algorithmic transparency in the public sector was the focus of a policy hackathon organised by The Forum and the think tank Reform. Imperial AI and data academics Professor Aldo Faisal, Professor Rafael Calvo and Dr Rossella Arcucci joined a group of around 50 international experts including senior policymakers, regulators, industry leaders and think tank representatives, for solution-focused discussions on key policy questions posed by algorithmic transparency. Read more.
The role of technology in achieving net zero (panel discussion) - March 2021
A panel of experts discussed the role of technology in achieving net zero, covering topics such as the government's 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, investment in innovation and how to pay for the transition to net zero. Panellists included Dr Ajay Gambhir from Imperial's Grantham Institute, Georgia Berry, Director of Political Campaigns at OVO and former Special Adviser for Energy and Infrastructure in the No.10 Policy Unit and Juergen Maier, Chair of Digital Catapult and Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. This was a joint event with the Institute for Government. Watch the event.
Science after coronavirus (panel discussion) - March 2021
The Forum and the Institute for Government co-hosted a panel event on 'Science after coronavirus', featuring panellists Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial, Dr Rupert Lewis, Chief Science Policy Officer at the Royal Society, and Dr Beth Thompson, Head of Policy and Advocacy – UK and EU at the Wellcome Trust. The experts emphasised the value of international collaborative science and the need for its long-term financial security. Read more.
How to build on the vaccine rollout (panel discussion) - March 2021
At a panel event jointly organised by The Forum and the Institute for Government, Imperial's Professor Robin Shattock joined George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk and former Minister for Life Sciences, Tom Chivers, author and Science Editor at Unherd and Dr Rebecca Fisher, GP and Senior Policy Fellow at The Health Foundation. Professor Shattock, who leads Imperial's COVID-19 vaccine team, said the UK must invest more in RNA technology to avoid losing ground in what he called a 'potential revolution'. Read more.
Energy from waste (roundtable) - March 2021
The Forum and the think tank Policy Connect co-hosted a closed roundtable on energy from waste. Professor Chris Cheeseman, Professor of Materials Resources Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, gave the opening presentation, offering his perspective on the issues and opportunities associated with energy from waste. He was joined by MPs, peers, civil servants and industry representatives to debate the issues.
What does the Biden presidency mean for global climate goals? (Panel discussion) - February 2021
President Joe Biden has garnered considerable support for more ambitious climate policy, and his commitment to re-joining the Paris Agreement and appointment of John Kerry as US climate envoy signals that this will be a priority. The new administration will need to work to restore Washington's influence as it seeks to build more robust global action to address the crisis. Read more.
Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Dean (Research), Faculty of Engineering, and Champion for Transition to Zero Pollution at Imperial chaired a panel discussion, which included the following expert speakers:
- Professor Tim Benton, Research Director, Emerging Risks; Director, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House
- Professor Frans Berkhout, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy and Professor of Environment, Society and Climate, King’s College London
- Alyssa Gilbert, Director of Policy and Translation, Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial
- Professor David G. Victor, Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, the Brookings Institution (US think tank)
Resources and Waste Strategy (roundtable) - January 2021
Imperial experts joined MPs, industry leaders and other officials to debate the future of the government's Resources and Waste Strategy. The event, jointly hosted by Imperial's new Transition to Zero Pollution initiative and the cross-party think tank Policy Connect through the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, analysed the progress of the Resources and Waste Strategy after its publication two years ago.
Chaired by Lord Teverson, Chair of the EU Environment Sub-Committee, opening remarks were delivered by Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, and Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and the Green New Deal. Imperial academics Professor Nick Voulvoulis and Professor David C Wilson joined senior parliamentarians to share their insights on the strategy, two years on from its publication by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Read more.
Air quality and the Environment Bill (roundtable) - October 2020
The Forum and London School of Economics (LSE) held a roundtable with members of the House of Lords to share insights on the Environment Bill. The meeting was an opportunity for the researchers to highlight how to ensure that the Environment Bill can be most effective at improving air quality in the coming decades. Chaired by Lord Teverson, Chair of the Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee, Imperial academics Professor Frank Kelly, Dr Audrey de Nazelle and Dr Marc Stettler and LSE economist Dr Sefi Roth presented their research around air quality and outlined how the bill, and wider government policy, can best reduce air pollution. Read more about the event.
Using evidence in government and Parliament (panel discussion) - October 2020
The Forum joined forces with the Institute for Government to deliver a programme of work on improving the use of evidence in policymaking. A public panel discussion on using evidence in government and Parliament was held, which also launched the report by The Forum and the Institute for Government on key learnings from the programme of work. The panel included Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Science, Research & Digital and Greg Clark MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee and former Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Read more about the event.
Zero-pollution economy (roundtable) - September 2020
The Forum convened a policy roundtable with Imperial academics, senior civil servants, parliamentarians and think tank officials on the topic of how we can build a zero-pollution economy. Imperial academics Professor Maurizio Zollo, Dr Ana Mijic, Dr Mirabelle Muuls and Professor Robert Shorten introduced their research and policy problems. Issues discussed included: systems approach to zero pollution; business, productivity and skills; poverty and inequality; taxation and policy; natural capital; and consumption and ownership.
Transition to Zero Pollution launch event - September 2020
The Forum supported the launch of Transition to Zero Pollution, Imperial’s new initiative to build new partnerships between research, industry and government to realise our vision of a sustainable zero pollution future. Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a renowned global climate justice campaigner, gave a keynote address at the online launch, arguing for climate justice – taking urgent action to avoid squandering the futures of our young people. Professor Mary Ryan then chaired a panel discussion with Baroness Brown of Cambridge (Julia King), Professor Mike Berners-Lee and Professor Nilay Shah. Read more about the event or watch it in full online.
Smarter regulation of data-driven technologies for healthcare (hackathon) - July 2020
How we can bring more data-driven innovations into healthcare was the focus of a policy hackathon organised by The Forum and the think tank Reform. Imperial AI academics joined a leading group of experts including healthcare regulators, statutory bodies, NHS leaders and senior policymakers to debate and discuss factors that stifle innovation and how they can be addressed. Three Imperial academics joined the discussions: Professor Rafael Calvo, Chair in Design Engineering, Dyson School of Design Engineering, Professor Aldo Faisal, Professor of AI, Departments of Bioengineering and Computing, and Professor Anthony Gordon, Chair in Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Department of Surgery & Cancer. Read more about the hackathon.
Social media and online harms (panel discussion) - June 2020
Preventing online harms, an issue at the forefront of health and digital policymaking, was the focus of The Forum’s first ever online panel event. The discussion explored social media, algorithms and online harms, seeking to answer how we can protect young and vulnerable people online. The panel consisted of Dr Nejra Van Zalk from Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, Dr Dasha Nicholls from Imperial’s Department of Brain Sciences, Ali Shah from the Information Commissioner's Office and Ghislaine Boddington from BBC Digital Planet. Read more about the panel event.
Circular economy (workshop) - May 2020
How to transition to a circular economy, a topic rising up the economic and climate agendas, was the focus of The Forum’s latest policy workshop. Dr Pelin Demirel and Dr Leila Sheldrick, both of the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial, and researchers from across the College led discussions with partners from government, think tanks, charities and industry to address many of the strategic decision-making challenges faced as we transition towards a circular economy. Read more about the workshop.
Flooding and water management (workshop) - April 2020
Tackling an issue of growing environmental concern – water management and flooding – was the focus of The Forum’s first ever online policy workshop. Led by Dr Ana Mijic of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an Associate of the Grantham Institute at Imperial, researchers from across the College led discussions with partners from government and other stakeholders to address many of the issues associated with water management and flooding. Read more about the workshop.
City fires (workshop) - February 2020
Led by Professor Guillermo Rein, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and head of Imperial's Hazelab, The Forum's city fires policy workshop explored tackling the key issues around city fires, including reducing the likelihood and consequences of accidental fires and improving modern infrastructure and building safety systems. The workshop was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Greater London Authroity, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Health and Safety Executive.
Plastics (workshop) - January 2020
Solving one of the great environmental challenges - that of plastic waste and pollution - took centre stage at this policy workshop. Jointly organised by The Forum with the Greener Plastic Future project and the Ocean Plastic Solutions Network at Imperial, researchers from across the College led discussions with partners from government and the third sector to address one of the foremost problems facing societies across the world. Read more about the workshop.
Air quality (workshop) - October 2019
Two Imperial researchers visited the Department for Transport to lead one of their learning and development series seminars on the topic of air quality, jointly organised with The Forum. Presenters looked at holistic approaches to improving air quality and emissions modelling. They were joined by the department's Chief Scientific Adviser. Read more about the workshop.
Decarbonising industry (workshop) - June 2019
Jointly held with the Grantham Institute, The Forum hosted a workshop in June on the topic of decarbonising industry. Attended by representatives from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, GO-Science, Green Alliance, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, HM Treasury, Energy UK, Policy Connect and Policy Exchange, the workshop was led by academics from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Artificial Intelligence and the future of work (workshop) - May 2019
The threats and opportunities of Artificial Intelligence and robotics to the workforce took centre stage at May's policy workshop. Imperial researchers and peers from the private sector presented the latest research on AI and the future of work to civil servants. The workshop was attended by colleagues at Department for Education, Future Advocacy, Department for International Development, GO-Science, REFORM, Office for AI, Institute of Public Policy Research and Centre for London. Read more about the workshop.
Aritificial Intelligence and health (workshop) - March 2019
Our March workshop examined the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and healthcare. Three researchers from Imperial's Department of Computing discussed their research on how AI can be utilised in the context of health, ranging from its use in medical scans to introducing the concept of an 'AI clinician'. Attendees joined us from DHSC, GO-Science, Office for Life Sciences, Office for AI, Innovate UK, the Cabinet Office and the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Vaccines (workshop) - February 2019
Vaccines was the topic of our February workshop. Imperial researchers discussed a range of research, including: increasing vaccine coverage in developing countries; accelerating vaccine development manufacture; the Imperial Network for Vaccine Research; HIV vaccine research and development; and bahvioural drivers behind peoples' decision-making use before and during pandemics and epidemics. Attendees were welcomed to the College from a number of departments and institutions: Department for International Development, Innovate UK, Results UK, GO-Science, Save the Children and Department of Health and Social Care.
Personalised medicine (workshop) - November 2018
In November the Forum hosted a workshop on the topic of Personalised medicine. Four Imperial academics presented their latest research, including how personalised medicine can be used to help treat diabetes, obesity and sepsis, how new DNA sequencing technologies can be used to analyse the human gut and conditions affecting it, as well as how AI and computational methods can make a difference in health and disease. The Forum hosted attendees from the Department of Health and Social Care, Office for Life Sciences, NHS Digital, REFORM, the PHG Foundation, Government Office for Science, Medicines Discovery Catapult, General Medical Council and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Data privacy (workshop) - September 2018
This workshop explored the issue of Data privacy. During the workshop experts such as data security expert and special adviser to the EU Commissioner for Competition Dr Yves Alexandre de Montjoye presented their cutting-edge research. Other areas of world-class research at Imperial includes the use and regulation of algorithms, advances in biometrics and what this means for privacy, cyber security and defence, the challenges around health data, the internet of things and the risk/reward of this technology and the future for smart cities and implications for private data.
Air quality (workshop) - June 2018
The Forum organised a workshop on Air quality in June 2018. Civil servants from a range of government departments, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Public Health England, the Department for Transport and the Greater London Authority and five Imperial College academics discussed their latest research, the implications of air quality on the nation’s health and the potential policy solutions that can be found.
Food and nutrition (workshop) - April 2018
The Forum organised a workshop on Food and nutrition in April 2018. Attended by Civil Servants from a range of Departments including The Department for Environment, Government office for Science, Department for Food and Rural Affairs, Public Health England, the Department for Transport and the Greater London Authority and a number of Parliamentary Select Committee representatives. Five of our academics discussed their areas of research and the health implications these have on both domestic and international policy.