Successful independent evaluation of Sciencewise, including Guardian science blog by Oversight Group member resulting in extensive take-up
The independent evaluation of Sciencewise, commissioned in September 2014, was completed and published on schedule on 25 March 2015 (www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/sciencewise-programme-evaluation/). The evaluation report has been downloaded 51 times (up to 28 April); dissemination will be launched after the Election.
The report was very positive overall about Sciencewise operations and achievements concluding that the programme is "unique as a co-design model of undertaking policy engagement and embedding it into policy making", and that "The programme has delivered both hard and soft impacts on actual policy formulation".
There have been three immediate impacts from the process:
• The high level Oversight Group for the evaluation, chaired by Judith Petts, remained highly involved and supportive throughout the evaluation. One of the Oversight Group members (Professor James Wilsdon) offered to write a blog about Sciencewise to link to the evaluation.
This was published on The Guardian Science Blog on 27 March 2015 (www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2015/mar/27/lets-keep-talking-why-public-dialogue-on-science-and-technology-matters-more-than-ever), to coincide with the publication of the evaluation report and making several references to the report's findings. This was supported as a Sciencewise Thought Leadership article.
The blog received 461 shares and 2 comments (at 1 May 2015), which is very good take-up given that the previous blog by the same author received half that.
• Sciencewise hopes to continue to work with all the members of the Oversight Group, to build on positive relationships to date. For example, Professor Ortwin Renn, Professor of Environmental Sociology and Technology Assessment, University of Stuttgart said: "I am glad I was involved in this. It was very instructive for me. And please take my sincere appreciation for all your work and supervision".
• The evaluation findings have been used in strategic planning for the Sciencewise programme for 2015-16, particularly around plans for developing and using a greater variety of dialogue methods and approaches, evaluations of dialogue projects and impacts evidence, and greater use of dialogue results.