Science Policy: Improving the Uptake of Research into UK Policy (Virtual)

23–25 August 2021

Wellcome Genome Campus, UK

Bringing policy makers and academic researchers together to enable evidenced-based policy making


Although science and research is a cornerstone of the economy and a strategic government priority, many researchers have little experience in engaging with policy makers. The relationship between the civil service, government and parliament, and their respective functions, can seem complex and opaque, and it can be difficult to see how research is relevant to policy makers and the decisions they take. At the same time, policy makers can struggle to engage with research, where policy implications and/or recommendations may be buried behind technical jargon or in highly complex scientific papers.

The fourth course in this series brings academic researchers together with policy makers to help break down barriers, encourage mutual understanding, and ultimately enable improved evidence-based policy making. It will provide early career researchers (PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and early career faculty) with an introduction to policy-making, show them how to engage with policy makers, either by their research being used to influence policy or by moving into a career in science policy. The course will focus on how policy is made and shaped in the UK, with one session focusing on international policy considerations.

The ultimate aim of this course is to build a community of policy-engaged researchers and research-engaged policy makers.

Learning outcomes

After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe and contrast the basic structure of Parliament, Government and Civil Service
  • Follow the legislative process and identify the key moments for influence
  • Identify and use the different channels through which evidence can inform policy
  • Describe how learned societies, academies, charities and funders can channel the voice of researchers
  • Tailor evidence to suit the needs of different types of policy makers
  • Adapt your own research plans to maximise the impact on policy
  • Connect with policy-makers and researchers who are seeking to influence policy


The course will start at approximately 10.00 on Monday 23 August and finish at approximately 15.30 on Wednesday 25 August 2021. All times are given in British Summer Time. See the time where you are here.

Topics will include:

  • How does research inform policy?
  • Getting evidence to where it’s needed
  • The role of intermediaries in policy making
  • International science policy
  • How to influence policy as a researcher
  • Meet the Parliamentarians – panel discussion
  • Group project – Commercial genomic testing policy

Instructors and speakers

Programme committee

Harry Beeson
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, UK

Philippa Brice
PHG Foundation, UK

Hayley Clissold
Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK

James Squires
Academy of Medical Science, UK

James Chandler
House of Commons, UK

Confirmed speakers

Sarion Bowers – Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK
Philippa Brice – PHG Foundation, UK
Fern Brookes  – The Academy of Medical Sciences, UK
Rohan Bundell – Association of Medical Research Charities, UK
James Chandler – House of Commons, UK
Alessandro Coatti – Royal Society of Biology, UK
Giulia Cuccato – Government Office for Science, UK
Joe Edwards – The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, UK
Helen Ferrier – National Farmers Union, UK
Rachael Martin-Smith – Cancer Research UK, UK
Laura Newby – MSD, UK
Dame Nancy Rothwell – Council of Science and Technology, UK
Chloe Watson – Wellcome, UK

MP panelists
Adam Afriyie – Conservative Member of Parliament for Windsor
Daniel Zeichner – Labour Member of Parliament for Cambridge

Event organisers

Jemma Hume – Conference & Events Organiser
Treasa Creavin – Scientific Programme Manager

How to apply

Attendees should be PhD students, post-doctoral fellows or faculty with an interest in science policy in the UK. International attendees are welcome, however the main emphasis will be on how policy is made in the UK (there will be one session focusing on international policy).

How to Apply

Please complete the online application form. Places are limited and will be awarded on merit. If you have any problems with the online application process, please contact us.

Application deadline: 23 June 2021

Cost and bursaries

Virtual Course Cost
Course fee* £150

The virtual package package includes: Access to all live-streamed sessions (including online networking channels), as well as access to all sessions ‘on-demand’ for four weeks after the event.

* To increase the international diversity of attendees at our meetings, we offer bursaries for delegates from Lower and Middle Income Countries (see list of countries here). If you would like to apply for a bursary, please contact the event organiser. You will be asked to submit a CV and a letter stating financial need.


Feedback from previous participants:

It has been a great course. The balance of talks and group work were a great way to keep the course varied

The networking opportunities were abundant and helpful to course attendees in developing routes into policy

Particular highlights were the MP sessions (brilliant to get a chance to speak to a group of MPs in a relaxed environment) and the policy as a career discussion

The course was great – really interesting, pitched at a suitable level, and improved my insight of the process by which scientific evidence may be used to influence policy

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