Why do some countries allow genetically modified food and others don’t? Who decides how much money the country spends on scientific research? Why are the ethnic minorities, women and LGBT communities underrepresented in science? Human population is increasing and so is the challenge of food security: what can we do about it? How can the countries around the world work together to tackle antimicrobial resistance or climate change? Three-parent babies: is this ethically appropriate and if so, when? How do we communicate sensitive topics, such as genome editing, to the general public? This is just a tiny fraction of what topics science policy includes. I’m sure you would have heard about most of them but simply didn’t know that it was called science policy. A great deal of it involves dealing with and influencing the Government and the Members of Parliament. But that certainly isn’t my daily bread and butter.
Let's take a step back.
Hello! My name is Gabriele, I'm a science policy officer at the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Biology, and I'll be writing to you (in my personal capacity) once a month to tell you about the world of science policy. How exciting!
I’ve got a BSc Hons degree in biomedical science. Afterwards I had two internships: one at a charity organising science careers conferences and another one at my old uni doing marketing, communications and enterprise development at the science faculty. Did I always know I wanted to go into science policy? No. When did I realise I didn’t want to work in the lab? During the third year of my BSc degree. Am I happy with my choice? Oh yes!
What’s coming up on the blog over the next several months?
As a typical science policy person, I can rarely plan far ahead – policy is such a dynamic and ever changing environment! Having said that, I love planning, re-planning and then colour coding my plans (that’s true, ask my colleagues), which is why sometimes it can be quite stressful to have to change your priorities several times a day at work. We’ll talk about the different areas of science policy, how people get into it, whether you can study it (because give me a few months and you’ll be in love with it!) and I hope to interview a few colleagues of mine as well (shhh, they don’t know about it yet).
I might even tell you a bit more about where a biomedical science or a biology degree can lead you to outside the lab.
Why am I blogging?
…because until the age of 20 or so, I didn’t know science policy existed and I don’t think I was an exception. Therefore through blogging, I hope to help you discover this field and enrich your understanding about how and why science and research happen.
Why should you be reading?
…because science policy is mindbogglingly interesting and affects you in so many ways!
Your mind is buzzing and a bit confused now, am I right? That’s alright, it’s mean to be like that! Have a fabulous Christmas break and I’ll see you in a month’s time!
In the meantime, you can also read my personal blog, where I collate all my publications, follow me on Twitter @GabrieleButk , LinkedIn or visit my Etsy shop (I make linocut prints, some of the sciencey; I’ll tell you more another time).
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my own and not necessarily those of my employer.