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Can Social Scientists & Government Work Together to Strengthen Public Trust in Scientific Evidence?

This event picks up on a challenge raised at a recent policy discussion with Government Heads of Analysis, the ESRC and the British Academy. In his closing comments, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington, spoke of the need to address the levels of public trust in scientific evidence and the need to rethink pathways of communication between social science, government and the public.

About the Speakers:
Evan Davis (Chair)
Evan Davis has presented the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 since 2008. He also currently presents The Bottom Line and Dragons’ Den. Previously he worked as the BBC’s economics editor for six years; for BBC Two’s Newsnight programme from 1997 to 2001; and as a general economics correspondent from 1993.

Dr Alice Bell teaches science communication at Imperial College London. She has degrees in the History of Science and Sociology of Education and her PhD explored the rhetorics of children’s popular science books. Alice also works as a professional science writer, specialising in science in society issues, writing for the Guardian, Times Higher Education and Research Fortnight, amongst other publications.

Jenny Dibden, joint Head of Government Social Research. Jenny Dibden is Joint Head of Government Social Research (GSR) service, the professional body which represents over 1,200 social researchers working in government departments and other related bodies. GSR members play a key role in the design and commissioning of social research by government. Jenny is joint head with Richard Bartholomew who is Chief Research Officer for the Department for Education (DfE).

Dr Julian Huppert MP is the Member of Parliament for Cambridge. He was elected with a majority of nearly 7,000 in May 2010. Outside politics Julian’s great passion is science. He has a PhD in Biological Chemistry from the University of Cambridge and until the election was a practising research scientist specialising in the structure of DNA.
Julian is a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee. He is also a co-chair of the Lib Dem Transport committee and chair of the APPG for Refugees. In Parliament he has been a strong voice for evidence-based policies, arguing that all MPs should have at least a basic understanding of scientific principles.

Anthony Heath holds Professorships at the Institute for Social Change, Manchester University and the Department of Sociology, Oxford University, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. His research interests cover social stratification, ethnicity, electoral behaviour and national identity. He has published many books and over 100 scientific papers. His most recent book, Unequal Chances: Ethnic Minorities in Western Labour Markets (edited, with Sin Yi Cheung) was published by OUP in 2007. He is currently working with a team of European colleagues on a comparative study of ethnic minority education and is also leading British studies of ethnic diversity and social cohesion, and of ethnic minority political integration. He recently completed a project assessing the affirmative action programme in Northern Ireland. 
Professor Heath has carried out work for many government and international bodies, including work for UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina on social capital and human development, for OECD on migrant children’s age at arrival and their educational attainment, for the Department for Communities and Local Government on social cohesion, for Lord Goldsmith’s Citizenship Review on national identity, for the Department for Work and Pensions on employer discrimination, and for the Equality and Human Rights Commission on ethnic and gender inequalities.