EPSRC - Science and Society
The EPSRC's (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Science and Society strategy is described on this site in the following terms:
"Our science in society programme aims to engage people in the outcomes and processes of science and engineering and to ensure that research is informed by public views and the implications for society. It also contributes to attracting young people into careers in research.
The EPSRC Societal Issues Panel helps us to understand and respond to the societal, political and legislative environment in which we work. We also work with Research Councils UK (RCUK) and other partners to increase the impact of our work in this area.
Following a successful public dialogue around our nanoscience programme, we have now developed a strategy for public dialogues.
In 2009/10 we will put this strategy into practice in a debate around synthetic biology, which will be conducted in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Gaining an understanding of the public’s questions and issues relating to synthetic biology will enable us to inform researchers and help regulators and funding bodies to shape the future direction of research in this area.
It’s essential that researchers are able to participate in high quality, effective public engagement. Together with RCUK we are supporting the Beacons for Public Engagement pilot project, which aims to drive greater public engagement across the higher education sector. We are also developing an approach for encouraging and supporting researchers to take part in public engagement, which may include awards and incentives.
Engaging young people
We launched the New Outlooks in Science and Engineering (NOISE) campaign in 2000 to raise awareness of science and engineering among young people. From 2009/10 the campaign will have a new focus as a training platform for researchers in the early stages of their careers.
We are also supporting the BLOODHOUND SSC project, which aims to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists by designing and building a car that can reach 1,000 miles per hour. Throughout 2009/10 we will be inviting young people to find out more about the project through a series of roadshow events at schools and festivals, including the Cheltenham Science Festival."