Dr Claire Craig CBE speaking at the Perspectives on successful policy work in science event

Evidence and collaboration: hallmarks of successful policy work 

By 16.05.24

Attendees at a recent Science Council event discussed how to maximise our influence 

The Science Council recently brought together colleagues from its members, Licensed Bodies and partner organisations at Perspectives on successful policy work in science. 

The one-day conference heard from a host of speakers involved in policy development and influencing. Together they talked about the importance of harnessing evidence, convening and collaborating for successfully influencing public policy. 

Throughout the day attendees – who were drawn from Science Council members and Licenced Bodies, partners such as the Royal Society and Nesta, government and Parliament – reflected on what they heard.  They shared insights from their own work and discussed how they might cooperate for mutual benefit. 

The keynote speaker was geophysicist Dr Claire Craig CBE, currently Provost of The Queen’s College, Oxford. She was previously director of the Government Office for Science and Chief Science Policy Officer at the Royal Society. 

Catherine Ross, chair of our Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and Scotland’s chief scientific officer, said: “Perspectives on successful policy work in science gave us a unique opportunity to share some of the work undertaken across the breadth of organisations engaged in the development of science policy. The mix of presentations and roundtable discussions supported informed conversations on potential future directions, emphasising the importance of fostering interdisciplinary partnerships and promoting science-informed policy making.” 

Laurie Smith, head of foresight at Nesta and member of our PAC, said: “Discussion over the course of the day revealed a host of knotty, long-standing issues for the science policy community, like how to communicate risk and collaborate across the sector. As a membership organisation for professional bodies across science there is real opportunity for the Science Council to facilitate fresh thinking on some of these topics.” 

Dr Andy Smith, PAC member, said: “Doing policy work can sometimes feel like ‘dancing with the mist,’ which is why it is so important to have the opportunity to meet with colleagues and share experiences. The conference was a great blend of structured, carefully curated content and informal inspirational conversations.” 

Thank you to all our speakers: 

  • Dr Sarah Giles, Senior policy adviser, The Royal Society 
  • Tanya Sheridan, Head of policy and evidence, Royal Society of Chemistry 
  • Jenny Chapman, Knowledge exchange manager, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 
  • Professor Robert Massey, Deputy chief executive, Royal Astronomical Society 
  • Natalia Grzomba, Policy and external relations manager, British Science Association 
  • Joseph Lewis, Policy lead, Institution of Environmental Sciences 

Thank you also to the Royal Society of Chemistry for providing the venue. 

For more information about our influencing work, please contact Dan Sumners, head of policy and engagement.