By Dr Laura Bellingan FSB, director of science policy at the Society of Biology
Election Day 2015 is almost upon us. While it is interesting to contemplate the tangled bank of possible outcomes beginning with the simple casting of a single vote (many times over) even Darwin might not bet on the endless forms of Government evolving to be most beautiful and most wonderful.
There has been a great deal of activity by the science community in the run up to the election and plans for follow up. The aim is to keep science in the frame and on the mind of the candidates as a centrally important issue to ensure the UK’s health and wealth. The Society of Biology has been playing its part in this throughout, supporting and delivering a number of activities to compliment and reinforce the key message and encourage involvement.
With the campaign underway we wrote to prospective candidates to highlight the importance of science and to draw their attention to how biosciences play a part in national life. We look forward to Parliamentary Links Day on 23rd June, which will be a key date for new and returning MPs to engage with science.
The Government may change but the facts don’t – science must be a key priority. The job of engaging with Government begins again as soon as it is formed.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) conducted a series of activities: asking candidates to contribute to their blog; writing to Party leaders and publishing their responses, and analysing the party manifestos. If you are still trying to inform your science vote they have a treasure trove of resources.
The Royal Statistical Society campaigned to encourage new MPs to become statistically literate. After a rousing AGM held at Charles Darwin House, Science is Vital launched their Tell them Science is Vital campaign, encouraging scientists to write to their local candidates.
The National Academies wrote a joint paper Building a stronger future: Research, innovation and growth. Research and innovation across the sciences and humanities will be central to development.
The Society of Biology co-ordinated an early discussion between young scientists and science policy makers at Voice of the Future, and later at the only pre-election science debate in Parliament; Science and the General Election 2015, both on behalf of a consortium of learned societies.
For further reading see our ‘Science and the new Parliament’ information sheet (below); our Science and the General Election page; and relive the six-party debate in our magazine, The Biologist.