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Sciencewise contributes to FSA Science Summit in November 2015

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Sciencewise was among the main external speakers at the FSA Science Summit on 26 November 2015, at the FSA London HQ. Other speakers included Professor Ian Boyd, Defra Chief Scientific Adviser; Professor Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Adviser; and Dr Steven Hill, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The  FSA's Annual Science Summit is the major event in the FSA for getting the science community together and contributing to their Continuing Professional Development. It was attended by 60-70 FSA staff including scientists, science/policy people, and people involved in communications, analytics, user of evidence and information.

The feedback from the FSA was generally very positive, and they were pleased to have the Sciencewise input on an area where the FSA is keen to develop its work, skills and capabilities.

Sciencewise made a presentation on 'What is Sciencewise and public dialogue?'. This provided a history of Sciencewise (including prompts such as the GM experience and challenging the deficit model), a short introduction to the theory of public engagement, the benefits of dialogue and where it sits within wider public engagement, and an overview and summary of the work Sciencewise has done with Which? as well as the current work with the FSA.

This was followed by a workshop led by the FSA lead on the current public dialogue project on the Future of Food. Sciencewise helped facilitate the workshop, which was designed to help participants think about where dialogue might add something to their work.

The Sciencewise input stimulated a number of questions from participants, including:
•    how could GM Nation have been done differently and avoided the backlash which arose?
•    how could participants use this approach to influence their strategy and priorities at a time of budget cuts?
•       how to manage the tensions between engaging and the pressures of the policy and decision making cycle which often lends itself to predetermination in decision making?
•       endorsements of the move away from the deficit model.