Reviewing science and society

BIS’s science and society team have embarked on a review of their programmes and activities.  The first stage of that process sees updates to the Action Plans that were published as part of their expert group process.

It’s a little weird watching from the sidelines on this one, as I was involved in a lot of the  previous activity that has eventually led to this point – from the Science and Society consultation, through its analysis, and to supporting the Science and Trust Expert Group in developing its Action Plan (can that really have been published 2 and a half years ago?), and implementing some of its actions, for example through the Public Attitudes to Science Survey.  And I also have to thank that initial consultation process for my own (at that time fledgling) digital engagement, as I began to see what digital tools could actually do.

At the heart of the current review process is a WordPress-based microsite developed as part of that earlier work (my predecessor commissioned it from Puffbox, while I was at that point one of the team responsible for requesting that update from a previous consultation site, so it’s all a bit small-worldish).  The site’s suffering a little from age and a relative lack of flexibility vis-a-vis some of our more recent developments, but it still works.  And more importantly, it’s something I can just leave the team to update themselves.  The site’s currently open for comments and views, so if you are involved in provision of science and society type activities, or just generally interested, head over and see what’s happening.

Working with the team and comms colleagues, we’ve introduced the hashtag #BISscisoc2012, as well as simple inbox listening  to help the team keep track of comments that arise as part of the process. We’ll also be  encouraging those who are active online to discuss the action plan updates via their social media channels.  While this post is part of that, I won’t use it to add my voice to the debate about what Government should or shouldn’t be doing, as that wouldn’t feel quite right.  While we were actively discussed online, on Twitter for example, previously, it’ll be interesting to see how that conversation has developed, and is different from that of even two and a half years ago.

One comment

  1. Marilyn, to a much lesser extent than you I some ownership of this work in particular the Science & Learning strand, for which there was no action plan. We who were in the Royal Society’s education team liaised with Sir Mark Walport and his Secretariat to ensure complementarity with the Society’s ‘Scientific Century’ report that came out at the same time as this valuable BIS work. It is great that he will be Chief Scientific Adviser so can hopefully bring his education hat with him into Government. Whether it will have any influence on the education agenda and how this all relates to Science and Society is of course a big issue involving many stakeholders, including Ministers, and perhaps even individual MPs and members of the ‘other place’.

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