The good folk of Defra
have asked Demos and Liverpool University to consider how lay people can play a part in expert scientific advice.
Social scientists have been saying for years that we need to think about expert advice differently. Thankfully, our project is being led by Alan Irwin
and Kevin Jones at the University of Liverpool, who have been saying it better than most.
Having paddled upstream
, we've now got the opportunity to see how things look in the murky world of evidence-based policy. The question is, when we can't get an ought
from an is
, and when it's sometimes not clear what the is
is, how do we approach the complexities of knowledge and decisionmaking? I've got a short piece in the latest issue of Science and Public Affairs
(what do you mean you don't read it?) looking at this with respect to the recent smoking ban.
With this project, I'm keen to make arguments about science and policy make sense to the people who work every day with the problem of knowing and doing - be they policymakers, doctors, scientists or experts. There's a lot of talk about public engagement with science, and a lot more about evidence-based policy. How can we do both at once?