Posted by Andrew Wadge on 22 August 2008 in Out and about
I was delighted to have the opportunity to give the opening address to the 28th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which is being held in Birmingham this week. My colleague, Bob Watson, Chief Scientist at Defra, was due to give the speech but had to pull out at the last minute, so it was a case of Bob's loss and my gain. After talking to an audience of more than 800 people in the International Convention Centre, it turned out I was the warm-up act for the Heart of England Chamber Orchestra . They were due to play everything from Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance to Flowers in the Rain by the Moody Blues. Given the abysmal weather, the Moody Blues was more apt than ELO's Mr Blue Sky...
Posted by Andrew Wadge on 20 August 2008 in Science in Government
The London School of Economics (LSE) recently hosted a workshop on the roles of social science in public dialogue on science, technology and medicine. A member of my team, Dr David Atkins, spoke about the FSA's social science work and its role in developing our discussions with stakeholders and the wider public.
This workshop on public dialogues provided a valuable forum to bring together academic social researchers and the people who use their work and advice, such as policy makers, including the FSA, and national science institutions, such as the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).
Posted by Andrew Wadge on 14 August 2008 in General interest
Government and policy makers are among those looking to see how best to use the world of blogs, wikis, virals and so on; Web 2.0 as it’s commonly called. So, at the risk of being accused of navel gazing, let me draw your attention to a new Hansard Society report on government initiatives in this area, not least because this blog is a case study in the Digital Dialogues project on which the report focuses.
It’s an interesting look at how different departments are using this technology to engage with different groups of stakeholders and what works and what doesn’t. As the report says: ‘… while online engagement did not necessarily provide the magic bullet solution to political disaffection, it was found – where successful – to initiate a process whereby public attitudes could be challenged and that new understandings could be developed about the policy area under discussion'.
Posted by Andrew Wadge on 06 August 2008 in Science in Government
Last week Ian Pearson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, launched a consultation on developing a new science and society strategy for the UK. Unfortunately, I was not able to be at the launch held at the Thinktank in Birmingham, but I hear it was an exciting event that drew together a wide range of people.
Posted by Andrew Wadge on 01 August 2008 in Science in Government
Finding effective means of helping people choose, cook and eat safe, healthy food just isn’t as easy as some of us might hope. We know that interventions to encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles need to provide more than information alone. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the Agency has used a range of approaches to help people choose safe, healthy food and also conducted research to help determine their effectiveness.
Indeed, it's a hot topic for anyone with an interest in public policy, judging from the rush to review ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness’,a new American book recently published on the subject. You can read reviews from the Times online and the Guardian on their websites.