Science Policy Interface
How can science be used to make better government policy?
Scientific evidence plays an important role in informing policy decisions. Using evidence well in government helps policymakers to identify problems and design solutions more effectively, but using evidence poorly risks designing and delivering ineffective or detrimental policy.
The most significant policy challenges in the coming decade will all require significant scientific and technical input. Whether its mitigating or adapting to the impacts of climate change, exploiting advances in quantum computing or preparing for the next pandemic, the effective use of evidence will be crucial in designing and achieving policy goals.
Imperial Policy Forum’s science policy focus looks at strengthening relationships and understanding between academia and policymakers through capacity building within the College and between researchers and government. We do this through our comprehensive internal training programme, support for submissions to Parliamentary and government inquiries, advice on the production of briefing resources and one-to-one support for researchers’ policy questions. We also horizon-scan for proactive opportunities to connect researchers and policymakers, and work as a first point of contact for government, parliament and industry partners looking for relevant expertise.
The use of evidence in government and Parliament
Imperial Policy Forum and the Institute for Government produced a short report on the use of scientific evidence in government and Parliament, informed by two expert roundtables in autumn 2020. Recommendations included clarity over responsibility for evidence use in departments and more proactive identification of weaknesses in the evidence underlying policy. Insights into the provision of effective science advice to government underpin the IPF theme area of ‘science-policy interface’.
Fighting an epidemic of misinformation
The coronavirus pandemic has also seen an explosion in the use of misinformation, particularly conspiracy theories and their dissemination across online platforms. This piece, with contributions from Professor Helen Ward, Dr David Nabarro and Dr Ajay Gambhir looks at the UK’s initial coronavirus response and the subsequent development of COVID-19 misinformation. This work also relates to the Imperial Policy Forum’s ‘Health’ theme.