Science and technology are having an ever greater impact on society. New developments have led to significant advances in fighting hunger and disease, boosted economies, and changed the way that we live, work and communicate.
They have also resulted in unanticipated, negative impacts, raising social, ethical, economic and security dilemmas. Greater understanding of the implications of science and technology is now vital, and demands the world's best expertise - in the physical and social sciences; technology and engineering; and law and philosophy - in support of policy formulation.
The Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) is a networking organisation dedicated to building relationships between policy makers and experts in the sciences and engineering.
The Centre is developing an array of activities including seminars, workshops and presentations that provide opportunities for informal, high-level discussion between policy practitioners in government and industry and world class experts. In doing so the Centre is building on the success of the Cambridge University Government Policy Programme (CUGPOP), which ran from 1998-2006 and which promoted understanding of how scientific and technological advances are made, their implications and potential in terms of governmental planning and policy.
The Centre operates through a Centre Staff supporting a network of Associates, Centre Interest Groups, Visiting Fellows and Centre Fellows, making connections and building relationships between the University and Government at senior levels. Workshops for senior policy makers are the most important output of the Centre; our objective is to use these workshops to promote multidisciplinary discussion between domain experts and policy makers.
CSaP Consultation Programme
Horizon scanning for topics of interest before they become major issues of policy is a high priority of the Centre, and is achieved through its Consultation Programme.
Centre Interest Groups (CIGs)
A nominated Convenor brings together Associates, Visiting Fellows and Centre Fellows meeting 3-4 times a year to discuss a topic cutting across engineering, science, computing, mathematics, the social sciences, law and philosophy.
Meetings of 3-30 people in which the thinking developed in the CIGs is discussed with senior government policy makers. Each workshop is tailor made.
People and organisations within the University of Cambridge and elsewhere who are interested in contributing to the work of the CSaP through the CIGs, Policy Workshops or other means.
People from academic institutions interested in the policy implications of their work plus senior policy makers in government and industry working for up to 3 months with Centre Fellows and the Centre Interest Groups.
Typically Readers or recently appointed Professors who wish to work on the policy implications of their subject and gain experience in working with policy makers. They are funded for part or all of one year (as appropriate) and receive communications skills training, mentoring, and are seconded for short periods into government, industry and media organisations. They are expected to be the Convener for at least one CIG.
The CSaP provides administrative support for CIG and other related workshops, as well as access to a growing network of senior policy makers, industry seniors and university researchers.
Since April 2011 CSaP has been part of the new Policy Fen Special Interest Group with Cambridge City Council.