Government Office for Science
Science, engineering and technology improve the quality of daily life, underpin prosperity and increase our readiness to face the challenges of the future.
The Government Office for Science (GO-Science) is headed by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA), Professor John Beddington. It exists to ensure that Government policy and decision-making is underpinned by robust science and engineering evidence and long-term thinking. Professor Beddington reports to the Prime Minister and Cabinet and works with all Government departments. He also heads the science and engineering profession in government.
The principal role of GO-Science is to support the GCSA in carrying out his functions. Its two main Management Units are Science in Government and Foresight.
Science in Government (SiG) covers the frameworks for the management and use of science and engineering in Government, supports the cross-Government community of Chief Scientific Advisers, and undertakes science and engineering reviews of departments. SiG supports the GCSA on specific issues such as climate change, food and civil contingencies, as well as on his role as Head of Science and Engineering Profession in Government. It also houses the secretariat for the Council for Science and Technology.
Foresight undertakes in-depth Foresight projects which apply cutting-edge science and futures techniques to long-term challenges and opportunities. It also houses the Horizon Scanning Centre, which undertakes and maintains cross-cutting scans, as well as supporting departments in specific horizon scanning projects and in developing their own horizon scanning capacities.
GO-Science and the GCSA are supported on international science, research and innovation issues by the BIS International Science and Innovation Unit (ISIU). ISIU also supports the GCSA in his role as chair of the Global Science and Innovation Network (GSIF). Professor John Beddington’s vision for science in Government is that:
- The UK stands as a beacon of good practice in the use of science and scientific evidence by Government
- GO-Science is widely recognised as authoritative and influential across Government
- Science and scientific evidence have clearly contributed to good handling of major challenges
- Foresight and Horizon scanning are both widely recognised as key elements of long term strategic planning
- The status of scientists and engineers across Government has improved significantly
- UK science enjoys a leading place on the world stage and GO-Science contributes internationally to developing thinking on global issues