Expertise for public policy: an OPEN Conversation

How does the UK science advice system work? How do policymakers think about expertise and experts? What challenges does this present to researchers and policymakers – and how can we respond to them?

To explore these and related questions, why not join us for this OPEN Conversation? Will Pryor (Head of Policy Engagement) will be joined by Dr Giulia Cuccato (Head of Science Systems and Academic Engagement at the Government Office for Science); and Dr Maru Mormina (Senior Researcher at the Ethox Centre in the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities).

We’ll be starting promptly at 4 p.m., and continuing the conversation over refreshments from 5 p.m.

Dr Giulia Cuccato trained in environmental science and genetics with a PhD in Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops at Reading University. She explored further her interest in genetics with two postdocs: one in synthetic biology and one in systems biology. Giulia turned her interest to policy for science after a stint as an editor at Nature, and has been a civil servant for 10 years. In her current role she supports the Government Chief Scientific Advisor in ensuring the government has access to the best scientific advice and information to inform policies and decisions. Recently she has focussed on understanding science systems in government and on how to improve the way the Government Office for Science interacts with its academic base.

Dr Maru Mormina’s work focuses on the use and non-use of expert knowledge for wicked policy problems. This work aims to understand how both expert knowledge and ignorance are construed and used to determine who is regarded as an expert – and who is not – what methods, approaches and paradigms are mainstreamed in policy – and which remain in the fringes. This can help us evaluate the epistemic quality of policy processes by better understanding how different kinds of knowledge flow (or fail to flow) through which webs of decision makers, experts and advisors. From time to time, Maru also provides expert ethics advice and has worked with a variety of private and public bodies, including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Health Research Board of Ireland and policy think tanks.