It was only this time last week that, as I mulled over ideas for this blog, I considered a post listing some interesting ‘facts’ about public engagement including the number of days since the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) had said anything about future policy initiatives in the area of science and society.
I should not have doubted my own powers of telepathy…because, on Friday, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, made a clutch of announcements about public dialogue to mark the start of National Science and Engineering Week. These include the award of a £3.6 million contract to a joint bid from the British Science Association, AEA Technology, and Involve (that’s the other(!) Involve) to manage the next phase of the Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre for Public Dialogue in Science and Innovation project. Bit of a mouthful that, isn’t it?
There’s more on the announcement on Vince Cable’s blog . But for a a little insight behind the headlines, check out Simon Burrall’s blog – Simon is Director of the aforementioned ‘Involve’ and has written an excellent piece about what they will be doing. The Citizens Group, involving people in the governance of the programme, looks a good initiative. Neither the British Science Association or AEA Technology have anything up on their sites yet so I am tempted to say Simon has his work cut out (that sounds a lot meaner than it is intended to be).
I think the Science Minister, David Willetts, – who earlier today was opening a cold storage unit in Havant – has been saying more in a speech this afternoon at the Centre for Science and Policy(CSP) . CSP will also have a hand in delivering ScienceWise I believe (well, I did say on Saturday they were ‘the’ organisation to watch).
So let’s hope the ice has frozen and things really are moving again on the public dialogue front.