The Guardian's Adam Smith wrote last week that scientists must be engaged in the political process if they want their concerns to be heard. In a commentary in Nature, University of Cambridge researcher Robert Doubleday and the University of Sussex's James Wilsdon write that the UK has a pretty good model for making science a political priority and that this model "is increasingly seen as a template elsewhere." The UK's government has a chief scientific advisor — currently the post is filled by John Beddington, whose five-year term is ending in December — who oversees 22 departmental chief scientific advisors. "Equivalent posts have been created in New Zealand and at the European Commission in the past few years, and are proposed in Japan and at the United Nations," Doubleday and Wilsdon write. The US has an equivalent in the post of the presidential scientific advisor, but whereas this person serves the White House, the British CSA serves all departments of government.
May 22, 2012