The Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre for Public Dialogue in Science and Innovation (ERC) aims to help policy makers commission and use public dialogue to inform policy decisions in emerging areas of science and technology
What is it?
It consists of a comprehensive online resource of information, advice and guidance together with a wide range of support services aimed at policy makers and all the different stakeholders involved in science and technology policy making, including the public.
The Sciencewise-ERC also provides co-funding to Government departments and agencies to develop and commission public dialogue activities. Recently completed projects include the UK’s largest public dialogue on stem cells, commissioned by BBSRC and MRC. This important study will inform policy development going forward.
The Sciencewise-ERC builds on the Sciencewise programme which was launched in 2004. Sciencewise, a commitment of the ten year framework, was a Government-funded programme to bring scientists, government and the public together to explore the impact of science and technology in our lives. The programme supported twelve projects, of which 3 are still live. Further detail is available from the Sciencewise-ERC website.
The Pre-Budget Report, published on 6 December 2006 announced the establishment of an expert resource centre for public dialogue on science and innovation. This followed the Government's response to the Council for Science and Technology's 2005 report Policy Through Dialogue. In the response, the Government undertook to take forward the CST's recommendation to develop a 'corporate memory' on public dialogue on science and technology.
A scoping and feasibility study led by the Sciencewise programme management team and steered by the Sciencewise Strategy Group, chaired by Professor Kathy Sykes (who is also a member of the CST), during the first half of 2006 recommended the establishment of a learning resource that would function across government (including departments, agencies and NDPBs). This would build capacity and learning regarding the value, methods and use of public dialogue in informing policy and decision-making on scientific and technological issues.