“Guided by the science”: the purpose of scientific advice after the Coronavirus pandemic

In partnership with UK Research & Innovation, this online Ask the Expert event explored the future of scientific advice in policymaking in the wake of COVID-19. You can rewatch the session in full below.

“Guided by the science” is one of the most ubiquitous phrases surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. Designed to give the public confidence in the government’s pandemic strategy, politicians have praised British science as amongst the best in the world, with top government scientists addressing the public directly on a daily basis.

However, the longevity and severity of the pandemic has also brought deeper scrutiny of scientific advice. If British science is world-beating, why has Britain fared worse than other nation’s during the pandemic? As the crisis recedes, there are questions to be asked about whether the structures through which scientific advice is formed and delivered are fit for purpose. Should scientific advice be more or less multidisciplinary to cope with a pandemic?  Are advisory structures modern and transparent enough? And with ministers balancing multiple priorities, how does scientific advice marry up with economic interests?

As part of the Social Market Foundation’s Ask the Expert series, held in partnership with UK Research and Innovation, our panel of experts will be seeking to answer some of these questions. This is a virtual event and joining instructions will be shared nearer the time.


Dr Adam Cooper, Lecturer in Social Science and Public Policy at UCL

Tracey Brown OBE, Director, Sense about Science

Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Chair, Science and Technology Select Committee


James Kirkup, Director, Social Market Foundation

This is an online event. Please register your place via the Eventbrite button and you will receive joining instruction via email prior to the session. Please contact events@smf.co.uk if you have any questions.

Follow the Ask the Expert series on Twitter:  @SMFthinktank @UKRI_News #SMFAsk


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