Latest News

About the Citizen Group

Sciencewise has set up a Citizen Group which brings the perspective and knowledge of members of the public into the development and implementation of the Sciencewise programme. The Citizen Group is made up of past participants of Sciencewise funded dialogues. The aim for the Citizen Group is to reflect the diversity of the people who took part in previous Sciencewise dialogues as far as is possible.

More information on the Citizen Group can be found here: FAQ Citizen Group

Sciencewise has opened up the Citizen Group to new members. This is only open for past participants from Sciencewise dialogues. Contact if you want more information.  

Sciencewise is currently undertaking a review of the Citizen's Group, taking stock of what has worked well, what was less successful and where to go next. If you would like to contribute to the review, please leave your thoughts on the Sciencewise blog or contact Amy at



The Citizen Group is made up of the following members:

Innes Newman

After studying at Bath University and the University of Aston Business School, Innes worked as a training consultant in the software sector until an opportunity arose for further academic research into IT strategy. Successful completion of the project opened the door to a lecturing career, leading eventually to the position of Workshop Director within Manchester Business School’s international programme. Recently Innes took early retirement to work on a personal project focusing on personality. Besides research and writing, Innes lists her main interests as cosmology, the natural environment and gardening.

Mairi McInnes

Mairi-McInnes.JPG Mairi McInnes, @IC_trends, works as a Communications Consultant in Edinburgh. Mairi was part of the DECC Youth Advisory Panel and contributed to the My2050 research and short documentary. After graduating from The University of Edinburgh, in Politics, Mairi worked on the 2010 National election campaign and interned with the John Smith Memorial Trust.

Mark Symonds

Mark was born in Bishops Stortford, Middlesex in 1964 and spent the majority of his childhood in Surrey. He completed his education in Bristol and has lived for the most part in North Somerset and the West Country for almost 30 years. He is married to Helen and has 3 boys and 3 chickens. His first job was working for MFI assembling damaged furniture and he then moved onto selling houses. 25 years on he still sells property in Bristol. Likes include watching his boys compete at swimming and football, camping (in France), fishing and cycling.

Phil Ham

Phil was born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to the UK in 2009.  Having lived in London and Dorset he has now settled in Bristol with his wife and four year old daughter.  He studied Criminology and Psychology at Melbourne University and has worked in Healthcare, Casinos and run his own pub.  He now works for the Environment Agency as a Programme Manager focusing on improving the quality of the water environment.  When not spending time with his family or starting new DIY projects (to avoid finishing the old ones), Phil pursues his interest in Permaculture and cycling.

Ruth Lesser

Ruth Lesser has relished living in Newcastle upon Tyne for over 40 years, but has lived and worked in many parts of England (which meant honing up her DIY skills on several house moves) . As a research aphasiologist she has been invited to lecture in the USA, Canada, Australia, northern and southern  Europe, Egypt and the Middle East (including Iran). Her travels now are for holidays and to keep in touch with her loving family of five children and 13 grandchildren. Her career has also included advertising copywriting in London, editing, writing books and teaching speech and language pathology as a university head of department and professor.

Unkha Banda

Formerly on the Department of Energy and Climate Youth Advisory Panel and the Oxfam GB National Youth Board, Unkha is committed to achieving an increased presence of young people's voice in the political decision-making process. Having been born in Malawi, Unkha also has a strong interest in international development, social justice and human rights. Unkha is currently in her final year at university studying Law and intends to practice as a barrister in the future.

Minutes from past meetings

Citizen Group Minutes October 2013

Citizen Group Minutes May 2013

Citizen Group Minutes February 2013

Citizen Group Minutes November 2012

Citizen group minutes October 2012