An introduction to science in policymaking: who, what, why and how?

Date: Thursday 12th November 2015

Time: 17:30-19:30

Location: Lucia Windsor room, Newnham College

Around the world, there is a drive towards the use of evidence in the design, implementation and review of policies. With Government funding of research in the UK under threat, and with only the minority of MPs having any form of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) background, it is vital that current STEM researchers engage with policymakers and politicians. In addition, a career in science policy is growing in popularity as a destination for PhD and postdoctoral researchers. From inside academia, the policy world can seem complicated, ideological and confusing. The professional development workshops offered by CUSPE will equip you with the information and skills you need to engage with or be involved in science policy work in your future career.

Want to find out more about science and evidence in policymaking?

Our first professional development workshop of the year will give PhD and postdoctoral researchers in Cambridge the opportunity to hear about the world of science policy first-hand from the policy professionals involved. Topics covered by talks and in small discussion groups will include:

  • The importance of advocacy for research, researchers and evidence in policymaking
  • How the policymaking process in Westminster works
  • The role that learned bodies and arms-length organisations play in influencing policymaking
  • How researchers can contribute to and influence policymaking

The confirmed speakers for this workshop are:

Dr Martin Turner

Policy Adviser, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE)

Martin joined CaSE as Policy Adviser in January 2015.
Martin was previously Senior Policy Adviser at the Association of Medical Research Charities, where he managed a wide range of policy areas and coordinated the association’s public affairs activity. This included providing the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research.
He has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Sheffield and gained his undergraduate degree from Manchester University. During his time in Sheffield Martin co-founded and later became Director of a science communication charity called Science Brainwaves, which is now the South Yorkshire branch of the British Science Association.

Dr Victoria Charlton

Head of Policy, the Academy of Medical Sciences

Victoria is one of two Committee Specialists currently serving the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. She graduated with a degree in Natural Sciences and worked in the City for several years before returning to science via a Masters in Science Communication from Imperial College London. After brief stints at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, Victoria moved over to the Select Committee, where she has led inquiries on a variety of topics including clinical trial transparency, blood safety, government horizon scanning and genetically modified organisms. Since February 2015, she has been on secondment from the House of Commons to the Academy of Medical Sciences, one of the UK’s four National Academies, where she is Head of Policy.

Dr Helen Ewles

Research Policy Advisor, Royal Academy of Engineering

Helen is the Research Policy Advisor at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Since working at the Academy she has provided secretariat support to the President, Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS, to produce the government commissioned Dowling Review of Business-University Research Collaborations. Currently her work focusses on innovation and entrepreneurship in relation to engineering, with a goal of understanding and improving relevant support mechanisms.
Prior to starting at the Royal Academy of Engineering Helen was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge. While at Cambridge Helen was one of the founding committee members of CUSPE, where she was head of lectures and in 2014, she took up a secondment in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. She obtained her PhD in 2011 from Imperial College London.

Dr Ailsa Stroud

Climate Change Adaptation & Geoengineering Science Advisor, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

A climate scientist employed as a government advisor, specialising in geoengineering, paleoclimate records and atmospheric chemistry. She provides scientific advice and input to research programmes on developing carbon dioxide removal technologies, supports IPCC organisation and convenes DECC’s actions in the National Adaptation Programme.
Ailsa regularly engages in climate science discussions with both ministers and the public, having appeared on BBC Newsnight and in more technical seminars. She lectures and mentors at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Earth Systems Science postgraduate schools on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council.
Previously an Ice Core Analytical Scientist at the British Antarctic Survey she has led Antarctic and Arctic field work to drill ice cores and use new analytical methods to improve understanding of ice core dating, weather patterns, climatic change and pollution events. In collaboration with the University of Cambridge, where she gained her Ph.D. (in 2011), she developed methods for tracing organic markers of biomass burning in ice cores, for which she was awarded a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Venice.


There will be an opportunity to network during a drinks reception at the end.

Places for the workshop are limited to 50 attendees. To apply for a place, please email by 4pm on Monday 2nd November telling us your name, position at the University (e.g. PhD student, department of Magic) and why and what you want to achieve from the event (five sentences max please). We will use this information to invite 50 of you to attend, and we will operate a waiting list system so that as many of the rest of you can benefit from this opportunity!