#CSaP13 Annual Conference: snapshot summary video

I attended the #CSaP13 Annual Conference that took place on the 18th of April 2013. You can see me at 1:02.

The Centre for Science and Policy’s 2013 annual conference, held on 18 April at the Royal Society in London, brought together some of the country’s most eminent professionals working at the intersection of science and policy.

For more videos: http://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/programmes/2013-annual-conference/

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NERC Booklet updated: Science into policy – Taking part in the process

This booklet aims to help NERC staff and NERC-funded scientists to:
– recognise the relevance of their science to policymakers and engage with science-to-policy activities from the outset;
– Identify opportunities, routes and best practice to inform policy-making, including opportunities to feed into NERC’s corporate science-to-policy activities;
– communicate science in an appropriate and accessible way, to the right policy-makers, showing how it fits their needs.
We have used case studies to illustrate the different approaches described, and drawn out reasons for success, where appropriate, as learning points.

Beautiful booklet by UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) advising how scientists can help shape public policy.

Science in Policy and Policy in Science: two events coming up

I am pleased to say that I will have the joy of attending two events next month – from which I will be tweeting hopefully.

Science in Policy

As a geekmanifesto groupie, i would not miss the CSaP annual conference 2013 “Future directions for scientific advice in Whitehall“. As mentioned in a previous post, next month Sir John Beddington gives his place as Chief Scientific Advisor to Sir Mark Walport. Thus, the aim of the conference is to launch a collection of essays charting future directions for scientific advice in Whitehall.

Continue reading

On the real power of a chief scientific advisor

Science’s profile of Anne Glover Europe’s Science Superwoman Struggles to Get Off the Ground

And an blog post by Roger Pielke Jr No Superpowers for the EU Science Adviser

which includes the following speech by Anne Glover

Continue reading

Making the most of scientists and engineers in government and Beddington’s legacy

In the UK, the Government Office for Science conducted a review to provide information about the current state of the the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) community, propose a vision for the future of the profession and highlight priorities for action. You can find the report here:

The future of the Civil Service: Making the most of scientists and engineers in government

You can find more information on this report here.

You should also read today’s article in the guardian by the outgoing UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington. There is also an interview of Sir Beddington at the Civil Service World website.

And if you want to read an opinion on his legacy, Research Fortnight has written an article on him.

UPDATE: new article by  on the issue of a Chief Social Scientist (15/03/2013) – with interesting video from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee session.

UPDATE2: Prof Sir John Beddington warns of floods, droughts and storms here (25/03/2013).

UPDATE3: In praise of … John Beddington at the Guardian (26/03/2013). 

Overview of the presence and influence of interest groups in decision-making in the EU

[this was my essay for the European Integration course]

1. Introduction

From the very beginning of the European Union (EU), interest groups have been an important element in its evolution, an element inextricably interwoven with the functioning of European institutions. The term interest group (IG) is used to describe organisations or bodies that represent trade unions, firms, farmers, local and regional authorities, consumer groups, environmental and animal protection interests etc (Labdas, Mendrinou, Hatziyanni, 2009).
IG influence greatly contributes to the EU’s democratic legitimacy and to the formation a common reference framework for the various European public spheres. A coexistence of a variety of public spheres can be observed, which are evolving through complex interactions between the many different material and virtual factors that shape European policies (Labdas, Mendrinou, Hatziyanni, 2009).
As a result, the presence of economic and social IGs has been ever increasing since the mid-1980s, indicating that their political mobilisation has been indeed considerable. This increase has been partly due to the complexity of the EU’s multilevel governance and the central position of highly fragmented European institutions. As a result, a great range of access points has been available to these groups to exert their influence on the decision-making process.
In addition, due to the constant criticism of the democratic deficit (lack of accountability, transparency of decisions and participatory opportunities, Michalowitz (2007)), the European Commission (EC) has demonstrated increasing openness towards IGs (e.g. White Paper on Governance or the Transparency Initiative, Kohler-Koch and Finke (2007)). In fact, nowadays, any explanation of policy outcomes without mentioning the contribution of IGs would be incomplete, especially since the influence of policy outcomes is their main goal.

Consumer debt and mental health

[I recently applied for a job for which I had to produce a report on consumer debt and mental health. Even though I did not get the job, I did spent sometime to look over the issue so I am posting the report here.]

Consumer debt and mental health
Evidence has shown a clear association between consumer debt and mental health. Given the current financial crisis, extra measures are needed in order to deal with people affected. This note considers the published evidence on the above relationship, examines the current regulations and suggests what policies should be implemented in order to ensure that sensitive approaches are adopted for the benefit of the consumers, the health and social carers, and creditors.
 
Overview
·      There are clear links between consumer debt affecting mental health, and vice versa, even if the direction of causality has not been yet verified. Continue reading