Scientific advice has never been in greater demand; nor has it been more contested. From climate change to cyber-security, poverty to pandemics, food technologies to fracking, the questions being asked of scientists by policymakers, the media and the public continue to multiply. At the same time, the authority and legitimacy of experts is increasingly scrutinised, Controversies continue to erupt in the ‘commons and borderlands’ (Strathern, 2003) within and between science, politics and society. As a result, experts, policymakers and publics are increasingly engaged in processes of 'collective experimentation' (Latour, 2004) as debates once regarded as purely scientific are opened up to new perspectives. To varying degrees across countries and international institutions, we see an increasing willingness to acknowledge uncertainties, engage with publics and experiment with governance processes. Drawing on research in the UK, Europe, India and China, and on his experience as a science policy practitioner at the Royal Society, James Wilsdon will explore opportunities, tensions and dilemmas in the democratic governance of science and technology.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Balsillie School of International Affairs

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