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Do science and politics mix?

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Leopoldina Lecture by Lord John Krebs in the context of the symposium of Class II - Life Sciences “Communication – From molecules to organisms“

Date: Wednesday, 21. May 2014
Time: 18:00 to 19:00
Location: Leopoldina, Festsaal, Jägerberg 1, 06108 Halle (Saale)

Politicians in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere often claim that their policies are ‘evidence based’.  I will draw on my experience as an academic scientist who has worked within the UK government to illustrate the complexity of the relationship between scientific evidence and policy.  My examples will include policy in relation to food, animal diseases and climate change. I will discuss how science is just one voice among many that influence policy, how disagreement amongst scientists can make it difficult for the voice of science to gets its message across, and how uncertainty, while familiar to scientists, can be lead to misrepresentation of evidence.

Lord John Krebs ML
Professor Lord Krebs Kt, FMedSci, FRS studied zoology at the University of Oxford, where he also completed his Doctor of Philosophy.  He was subsequently an Assistant Professor of Ecology at the University of British Columbia, Lecturer in Zoology and the University of Wales, before returning to Oxford first as Lecturer Zoology and later as Royal Society Research Professor.  He has served as the Chief Executive of the UK Natural Environment Research Council, Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency, and the Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee. He is the Principal of Jesus College, Oxford University and Professor of Zoology. He is the co-author of a best selling text book “An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology”.

ML: Member of Leopoldina

©Image: Keith Barnes

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