Science Policy Success

Photograph of Roseanna Cunningham addressing the conferenceThe Science Policy Success conference was held at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth on Wednesday 7 October and Thursday 8 October 2009.

More than 100 Scottish Government staff, academics, scientists from the Scottish research institutes and individuals from the rural and environment agencies attended.

They were able to watch presentations on the themes of sustainable development, climate change, health and wellbeing and biodiversity. The speakers were drawn from all the participating research organisations which support knowledgescotland [1]: the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, the Mordedun Research Institute, Scottish Agricultural College, SCRI, the Rowett Research Institute at the University of Aberdeen and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

A keynote address was delivered by the Scottish Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham during the Wednesday afternoon session in which she underlined the importance of the contribution made by the rural and environmental research community in Scotland.

One of the main themes of the conference was the importance of improving the linkages between scientific research and the formation of government policy in Scotland – the main goal of the knowledgescotland initiative.

Photograph of a panel discussion with conference chairman Quentin Cooper

Image: Quentin Cooper, who chaired the first day of the conference, hosting 'Have I got science news for you'

The post-conference evaluation found that more than 70% of the respondents believed it had achieved the aim of improving the links between science and policy. Eighty-nine per cent were interested in attending similar events in the future.

Time was also spent examining the difficulties of communicating complex, science-based information to the public.

The main speaker in a session called “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” was the writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch. Here she reflects on the challenge. The views expressed are – of course - her own. Read the article here [2].


Presentations and posters from the conference can be viewed here.

Responding to Climate Change

Health and Wellbeing

Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability

Protecting Biodiversity

Short filmGet the Flash Player [27] to see this player.

Watch the short film from the conference 'Climate Change: The Word on the Street' by Gareth Jones, Glasgow Caledonian University.

The full programme for the event is below.