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House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recognises value of Sciencewise role and funding

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The House of Commons Select Committee meeting on GM Foods and the application of the precautionary principle in Europe, took evidence on 7 January 2015 (at 11.09 and 11.27).

George Freeman MP, Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences at Department of Health and BIS, gave evidence. He said:

"...unless we carry public opinion with us, unless we carry public support, Parliamentary support, media support, we'll end up being very good at the science and not able to actually implement and adopt and that runs across a lot of the areas I am concerned with - data, genetics. So it is a very important issue and a real challenge. Within BIS we fund, recognising the importance of it, the Sciencewise programme which is about making sure that, across Government, public dialogue, public discourse is - as best we can - built into policy-making, and that is a commitment across Government ...

[Sciencewise] is part of promoting and building a public dialogue, public discourse, public understanding and the feeding in of public views across policy-making. But it is one tool in the toolbox. ..."

There was then a question from the Committee about Sciencewise funding potentially finishing in March 2015. Mr Freeman said this was a matter for the Chancellor and continued "but I think he has put his money where his mouth is in terms of ring-fencing the science budget and making a deep commitment to science". The questioner then suggested that Mr Freeman "would like the Chancellor to continue that funding, wouldn't you?" To which the answer was "Well, I am very keen to see funding for science and the role of science in our long term economic plan, yes."