This year’s Science Festival is being held at Aston University in Birmingham from 14 to 19 September 2010, with events and workshops for students, the public and science media.
Commenting on the event, Mr Willetts said:
Every year this festival conveys the wonder and importance of science and engineering in a different part of the country. The UK has a thriving science festival scene which leads the way in entertaining and engaging the widest possible audience with these issues.
Talking with the public
Mr Willetts said that as well as engaging with science it was vital that public views on scientific issues such as genetic modification were fully understood and taken on board.
He announced in his speech that the present GM dialogue project will not continue in its current format.
However, it’s vital to engage people of all ages on scientific issues, so that they have a real say about developments which can affect all of us.
The details of the government’s policy on the use of GM technology in food and agriculture are still being developed but all policies will be based on robust evidence. Working out how best to engage with the public should be part of this.
Consultation on science advice
Mr Willetts and Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Sir John Beddington have also called for the science community to have their say on the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees (CoPSAC).
The consultation is looking at how the code should be updated so that government continues to receive expert scientific advice that is high quality and also relevant to today’s world.