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Science in the Policy World

Science increasingly affects aspects of everyday life, and scientists should offer advice and guidance to politicians and policy-makers, write Michael Elves and Ian Gibson, the chairman and president respectively of the Newton's Apple Foundation, in the Guardian. The UK organization promotes the incorporation of science and scientists in policy development.

Elves and Gibson argue that the graduate and postgraduate training of scientists should be broader. They note that only about 10 percent of UK postdocs will find a senior academic position and say that the scientists should be better prepared for a life outside of the laboratory.

"They should be encouraged to see the relevance and political consequences of science and technology in general, and the relevance of their field of science in particular to national policy," Elves and Gibson write. "They should be prepared to be proactive in explaining the nature of scientific evidence to those who ultimately make the policy decisions."

While they and their group focus on policy — Elves and Gibson say some 1,000 researchers have taken part in their workshops on science policy — they add that PhD students and postdocs should also be exposed to careers in industry, civil service, and more.