GW4 University Alliance Workshop
22 January 2015
Stephan Lewandowsky and Marcus Munafo hold 2 day GW4 workshop entitled ‘The role of science in society and policy
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky and Professor Marcus Munafo from Psychology recently received funding from GW4 for a workshop entitled ‘The role of science in society and policy’, which was held in Bath on 21 and 22 January. In addition to Marcus and Stephan, the applicants included academics from disciplines as diverse as sociology (David Miller, University of Bath), political science (Jason Reifly, University of Exeter), journalism (Mike Berry), and social health (Esther Crawley).
The project is based on the premise that science infuses every fibre of contemporary life, from medical treatments to large-scale risk management of climate change. However, the importance of science stands in contrast to some concerning mega-trends: Trust in science, government and universities is declining. On some important issues, segments of the public reject overwhelming scientific evidence (e.g. vaccine safety). On other issues such as climate change, the public is largely convinced but policy change is slow. When the public is sceptical of the best available science, or policy makers resist action, how should scientists respond? The workshop yielded some very interesting insights and it was agreed to move ahead with further funding applications that will include some very specific and concrete deliverables for public, policy makers, university administrators, and academics