Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

By Dave Stevens, Marrella Communications
Written for the QUEST project team

I wondered, whilst reading Interdisciplinary Research Journeys, whether there is a recipe for managing the tensions in an interdisciplinary research team of academics and practitioners?

It brought to mind some of the so-called ‘men-on-a-mission movies’ that Hollywood is always pumping out, where a ragtag band of ‘specialists’ is thrown together to complete some near impossible quest.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New rules of engagement?

By Catherine Lyall

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, David Guston from Arizona State University spoke about ‘anticipatory governance’, describing it as building capacity now for what might happen in the future, as a way of understanding the political and operational strengths and weaknesses of emerging science and technology.  Others are talking of ‘tentative governance’(1), suggesting that governance modes need to be tentative in order to respond to the uncertainties and dynamics associated with such activities.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Vive la différence?

By Dave Stevens, Marrella Communications
Written for the QUEST project team

Nature recently reported (Oct 28) the EU was admitting failure in attempts to reach its (fairly modest) gender targets for the research workforce that it set itself back in 1999, citing lack of political support for the shortfall.

So I was particularly struck when glancing through the references cited in Interdisciplinary Research Journeys, the new book by Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Joyce Tait and Laura Meagher, that the majority of authors listed were women.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The governance of science: The shadow of the genetically modified crops experience

By Joyce Tait

A shadow looms over many of the life sciences: the question of public acceptance of the science and technology – most evident in the context of genetically modified (GM) crops.

Opposition to GM crops by public-interest groups cannot be underestimated: it has prompted debate about the competence of researchers, banned research trials and seriously affected the advice given to governments.

In 2000, when the decision was taken not to rule against 27 Greenpeace activists who destroyed GM crops because of their belief it was the right thing to do, The Independent newspaper called it ‘[…] a defeat for scientific truth’ (Anon, 2000).

Monday, 1 November 2010

Politics, governance and life science innovation: How to get more bang for the bucks you’ve already spent

At the Conservative Party Conference on 5 Oct 2010 Professor Joyce Tait raised the following points about policy, governance and life science innovation. Joyce’s talk was part of Innogen’s contribution to the 2010 EGN Party Conference Fringe Programme.

Investment in biotechnology and life science research is expected to stimulate innovation and the UK's economic recovery. While this investment is needed, Innogen research shows that it is radical changes in governance and regulatory systems for life sciences that will be the key to maximising public benefit (economically and societally) from the money already spent on scientific research and from future investments.