The world is facing increasingly complex and uncertain problems. What can science offer to policymakers and how can the advice be improved?

Drinks and networking from 6-7pm. Panel from 7-8pm.

Tickets available at Eventbrite or through Facebook.

A panel from SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) will discuss their recent report ‘Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty’ addressing the question of how to provide good science advice to policymakers. The panel includes:

  • Professor Susan Owens, Professor of Environment and Policy, University of Cambridge, and member of the Making Sense of Science Working Group
  • Professor Ole Petersen, Vice-President of Academia Europaea (lead academy for Making Sense of Science)
  • Professor Andy Stirling, Professor of Science & Technology Policy, University of Sussex, and member of the Making Sense of Science Working Group


At a time of extreme global challenges, science advice is consistently regarded as a vital element in the overall set of evidence considered by policymakers. Science (defined broadly to include the social sciences and humanities) can support effective policymaking by offering the best available knowledge to understand a specific problem, generate and evaluate policy options, and provide meaning to the discussion around critical topics within society. Policymakers are invariably endeavouring to make sense of scientific evidence that is complex, multifaceted and often at the very limits of what is known scientifically.

It is against this backdrop that the European Group of Chief Scientific Advisers has addressed the question of how to provide good science advice to policymakers. The Group asked the consortium of academies, SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), to undertake a comprehensive and far-reaching evidence review. Members of SAPEA will present and discuss the key findings of their evidence review report, Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty. The SAPEA published report covers three main areas: what science can offer to policymaking; using scientific evidence; and the potential for improving the use of scientific advice for policymaking. The panel will present and discuss the main insights of the report.

  • Thursday 28th March 2019, 18:30 – 19:30
  • Bateman Auditorium, Gonville and Caius College
  • Register for this lecture here.

    Are you an international scientist working in the UK? Is there an impact on policies about international mobility of researchers? Do you consider your research to be innovative? Would you like to learn more about the policy behind innovative research? In our last lecture of the term, ‘How do you shape policy for science, scientist?’, our speakers will cover current topics discussed in the policy-making for science, from researchers’ mobility to innovative research.

    Guest speakers:
    Dr Catherine Lichten – Senior Analyst, RAND Europe
    Dr Steven Wooding – Lead for Research and Analysis, Cambridge Science and Policy (CSaP)

    This lecture will be followed by a networking drinks reception.

  • CUSPE Forum 2019

  • Wednesday 24th April 2019
  • St John’s College, Old Divinity School
  • Register for this event here.
  • The Cambridge Science and Policy Forum is an annual event organized by the Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Society (CUSPE). This is a half day event, consisting of keynotes, panel discussions, poster sessions on a variety of science policy related topics, and will include an informal network session at the end.

    If you are interested in how scientific research impacts policy, or how as a scientist you can become involved in policy then this is the event for you. Whether you are a hardcore scientist wanting to learn more about the world of policy making, or someone who is considering a career move outside of the lab, then come along and find out more!

    The event is intended to encourage debate and interaction between both policy makers and academics, and to help facilitate cooperation between the two sides to create evidenced based policies. As well as hearing from speakers from academia, policy and beyond we will also be debating the topic of equality and diversity in science and science policy.

    The forum includes inspiring talks from a range of speakers, exciting debates and smaller workshop sessions aimed at teaching you skills to apply to your work in science and beyond, as well as career guidance on moving away from academia. There is also an opportunity for you to get involved in your own science policy challenge, as we will be hearing about the county council challenges project and more about the University society, CUSPE.

    Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions: forum[at]

  • Date: Thurdsay 7th March 2019, 19:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Pavilion Room, Hughes Hall, CB1 2EW
  • Click here for more information on the 2019 Policy Challenges.
  • Join us for an evening with elected county councillors and senior local government officers from the Cambridgeshire County Council to discuss key policy questions affecting the lives of local residents, and how research can contribute to the council’s work in addressing these issues.

    This event will mark the launch of the 2019 round of the Policy Challenges, a skills-based volunteering programme in which teams of early-career researchers work directly with the county council over a six-month period to formulate evidence-based recommendations on local policy issues. All are welcome to attend the event, whether or not you intend to apply for the Policy Challenges.

    The county council are in the process of identifying policy areas for the 2019 Policy Challenges, which will run from March to September. Topics under consideration include: outcomes measurement in commerce and investment policy, local government services for generation Z, evaluating the impact of a public health programme, and how architecture affects local schools. The final selection of topics will be announced when applications open in early March.

    How to stop bad data driving out the good in an age of misuse, misleadingness and misinformation

    Time: 4 March 2019 17:30-18:45 (followed by networking drinks)
    Location: St John’s College, Cambridge

    Fake news, post truth, mistrust of experts… a familiar roll call of anxieties – or perhaps clichés – about our data rich world. They point to an underlying fear that in this data abundant age the bad data drives out the good and we are left with a broken public discourse.

    The UK Statistics Authority is the champion of statistics and data serving the public good – to allow the good data to shine out and be used, appropriately and with confidence, to inform the public.

    Ed Humpherson will talk about the UKSA’s role in this data rich environment and highlight the central role of trustworthiness – and argue that CSaP can play a key part in the fight back against misleadingness, misuse and misinformation.

    The lecture takes place on 4 March in St John’s College Divinity School. More information can be found on the CSaP website.