By Edward Andersson, Dialogue Manager
Last week I attended an early viewing of ‘The Shining Path’, a play written by Rahila Gupta, which features a citizens’ jury as a core part of its plot. It is unusual for public dialogue methods to feature in popular entertainment so I was interested to see how the play covered the topic. The small collective who commissioned and co-produced the play, SPEAKS, are currently fundraising to tour the play over the coming months.
The plot of ‘The Shining Path’ revolves around a scientist who is working on stem cell therapy. (more…)
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is leading a new public dialogue to complement a recent Cambridge Centre Science and Policy (CSaP) horizon scanning workshop aimed at identifying new and emerging areas of science and technology. The BIS deliberative dialogue will focus on understanding the views of the public on these emerging policy areas and finding out which are considered by the public as priorities for future public dialogue. Find out more
Sciencewise is running a practical hands-on session for participants at this year’s British Science Association annual Science Communication Conference on Thursday 16 May at King’s Place in London. Dialogue LIVE! offers science communicators the opportunity to explore the benefits, value and barriers of public dialogue and experience the process first-hand through use of a Dialogue Simulation Training Kit.
Dr. Sergio Bellucci is the Director of the Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment (TA-SWISS) at the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. The Centre’s mission is to follow technological changes and developments, to identify the social, legal and ethical consequences of new technologies, and to encourage discussion of the challenges they bring. He received a degree in agronomy from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1976, and a doctorate at the same Institute in 1980. He then became researcher at the Agro-Division of Ciba-Geigy in Basel. In 1989, he became Director of the Centre for Continuing Education of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and, in 1993, Director of the Management and Technology Institute at the Technopark in Zurich.
UK researchers are working on new medical techniques that could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children. These techniques, which are IVF-based, offer options for affected families. However they are also at the cutting edge of both science and of ethics.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority recently reported results of a public consultation on these techniques which involve mitochondria replacement. Their work comprised several different types of engagement and was supported by Sciencewise: (more…)
By Daniel Start, Sciencewise Dialogue and Engagement Specialist
I’m often asked how public dialogue differs from public opinion research or social research. It’s a fair point, because there are many aspects that overlap, not least the generation of robust and reliable evidence for policy making. The discussion can lead to some fascinating discussions about the nature of evidence, the policy-making processes and nature of legitimacy. So what are the differences between dialogue and social research?
1. Empowered, transparent and involving
First, public dialogue processes must be able to influence policy decisions, and the process must be transparent and open to scrutiny and challenge.
By Susannah Lansdell, Sciencewise Dialogue and Engagement Specialist
My daughter is about to do a school production of Alice in Wonderland…the White Rabbit declaring “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date” sets the theme for this snapshot of life in my Dialogue and Engagement Specialist shoes…
Time is the thing that is eluding many of the projects I have been working on recently, and is the one thing that, in my experience, is the essential ingredient for a really successful project. That is not to say that tight timeframes don’t deliver good projects – but lack of time even with the best contractors, participants and commissioners is the one element that can squash creativity and affect ability to deliver to the highest quality.
by Roland Jackson, Sciencewise Executive Chair
It is perhaps a brave and foolish person who attempts to tackle badgers and bees simultaneously, not least after George Monbiot has taken to task Mark Walport on the latter and Ian Boyd on the former. But it strikes me there are practices here that the science advice system could adopt from the wider experience of deliberative dialogue.
In all such cases when scientific advice impinges on real world politics there are broadly two factors at stake, and both are invariably contested. (more…)
Tim Hughes, Sciencewise researcher
An article on the BBC website last week explored what the public think about the NHS and asked the the question “Is the NHS really untouchable?”. Public opinion surveys suggest that it is. They consistently show that the NHS is high on the list of items that the public wish to protect from cuts. A recent Ipsos MORI/Nuffield Trust survey which found that nearly eight in 10 wanted to protect the NHS from cuts when given a list of services to choose from. However results from more deliberative work shows a more mixed picture.
The article mentions deliberative research done by Ipsos MORI for the King’s Fund. In two day long events 80 selected citizens discussed the issues in depth.
By Edward Andersson, Dialogue Manager
On the fifth of February Sciencewise ran a session at the Government Office for Science’s Government Science and Engineering Conference. The Conference saw the launch of the ‘The future of the Civil Service: Making the most of scientists and engineers in government’ publication which provides a useful overview of the science and engineering field within Government. Scientists and engineers are an important, and often overlooked, group in public dialogue.
Our fully booked session looked at public dialogue, and what scientists and engineers can gain from it. There was a lot of interest from the delegates at the conference.