Sciencewise is an organization based in the United Kingdom that is led and funded by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) with support from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. Sciencewise has supported more than 50 dialogue projects since its establishment in 2004. This support includes the contribution of expert advice and guidance on public participation as well as up to 50% co-funding for public engagement programming. The organization Involve works with Sciencewise to provide expert support.
Sciencewise supports projects that fall within their current priority themes. Currently, these themes align with the four Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges: artificial intelligence and data, the future of mobility, ageing society, and clean growth. In addition, Sciencewise supports project work focused on genomics and genome editing.
Sciencewise executes the United Kingdom’s approach to public engagement and science, which aims to foster public support for science and actively pursue decision making at the government level that is informed by the public. The guiding principles for Sciencewise help ensure that its programs are robust, context-specific, and impact-driven.
How to Use
Sciencewise provides case studies of previously supported projects for users to review as examples of Dialogue & Deliberation programming informing policy. Projects consider a variety of topics, including ageing society, artificial intelligence, clean growth, future of mobility, genomics and gene editing, and other science and technology related areas. Users can read summary overview reports of the projects or they can dive deeper into more topic-specific reports—including summaries of the dialogue, outcomes, evaluation, and working group reports. Sciencewise also makes note of real impacts to policymaking in the United Kingdom that arose from the dialogue and deliberation work they have supported.
Sciencewise guides and resources can also be helpful for users to review, such as their guidance on evaluating projects, called Quality in Public Dialogue. This guide presents a framework for assessing public dialogue in public policy under the Sciencewise program. The framework allows users to note the importance of robust and transparent methodology in all stages of dialogue projects—including the design, delivery, and evaluation—to ensure confidence in any policymaking that results from this work.
The case studies are useful for organizers looking to convene dialogue around topics similar to projects in the Sciencewise portfolio. In addition, the Sciencewise project reports can be a useful template for considering how to develop similar materials for public engagement projects.