A digital National Science & Engineering Week

An alternative title for this post could have been “A return to Science & Society”.  It’s been quite a week in the BIS Digital team as we’ve supported the Department’s inovolvement in #sciweek.  That has coincided with other high profile events including Women in Boards: One Year On, and a focus on mentoring.

But back to Science Week, and some of us have been puzzling all week how the Department’s STFC CERN window display was made.  It accompanied a display  on the Large Hadron Collider, and itself generated a bit of excitement on Twitter. Professor Jon Butterworth came to talk to staff about his work on the Atlas experiment at CERN, and we captured some of his enthusiasm in a quick Audioboo.

http://abfiles.s3.amazonaws.com/swf/fullsize_player.swf

The week started off with a blog from the secretary of State announcing a new contract for the Sciencewise programme – signposting a renewed focus for the programme with a citizens panel potentially informing both the shape and choice of projects, and support for business dialogues. The early Sciencewise programme had some interesting collaborations with business so this could be an area to watch.

Given that early focus on Sciencewise, it was apt that Kathy Sykes – former co-chair of the Sciencewise steering group came to talk to BIS staff about public dialogue on scientific issues. That was an inspiring session as we got some insight into her rationale for committing to public engagement.  We were also able to give her a bit of an introduction to Twitter.

This year I missed the Big Bang Fair, which is currently seeing 60,000 young people, their teachers and parents, coming through the doors of Birmingham’s NEC to be inspired by science and science careers,  but young(ish) people were the focus of one of the most inspiring events of the Week.  Live tweeting part of the Society of Biology’s Voice of the Future mock Select Committee event not only gave me some insight into the sheer organisation and orchestration that goes into a Select Committee hearing, but also showed just how tuned in young scientists and engineers – including from schools – are to the key science policy debates around science careers, use of scientific evidence, and engaging their peers with science.

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