This paper argues that public engagement in science should be seen as an asset to innovation, not as a damage limitation strategy. It focuses on the UK government's ten-year Science and innovation investment framework.
The paper is concerned with two key strands of science policy. The first strand is about promoting science and technology. At the centre of recent policy reports on science, including the Framework, is the challenge of innovation. Put simply, this is to improve Britain's record at turning research in marketable products. Although the challenge sounds straightforward, the government treats innovation as a complex, non-linear process, involving consumers and business people as well as scientists.
The second strand is about risk and public trust in science. It has only become an issue for science policy over the past ten to twenty years. Within the past five to ten years, there has been a sea change in the way it is understood. Whereas the stress was previously on deficiencies in public understanding, it is now placed on public engagement.
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