Something Possibly Worth Stealing: The First CSA Annual Report (UK Edition)

Early on November 19th the Institute for Government will host the U.K. Chief Scientific Adviser for the release of Innovation: Managing risk not avoiding it.  The report is described by the Institute as the “first ever Annual Report” by Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Mark Walport.  I keyed on the ‘first ever’ language, and it would seem that this document is intended as something separate from the Government Office of Science Annual Reports.

Until the report is released, it’s hard to know exactly what’s in it, but there are some hints. The goals of the report are:

  • Stimulate broader discussion on risk, hazard, uncertainty and vulnerability (within the UK, Europe and the wider international community); and
  • Promote a regulatory culture surrounding risk in which robust scientific evidence is openly considered alongside political and other non-scientific issues in shaping policy.

So the key work in the report title is risk, rather than innovation.

I don’t know how many authors have contributed to the report.  Here are some of them:

  • Professor Andy Stirling of the STEPS Centre, a research center focused on development and science and technology.  His chapter focuses on debates and decision-making around new technologies/innovation.
  • Professor Lisa Jardine of University College London.  She’s an historian, and will be part of the public release event at the Institute of Government.
  • Professor Tim O’Riordan will also be at the release event.  He’s an emeritus professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia.
  • Doctor James Lyons, a Senior Lecturer in English at Lyons University, has contributed a case study on the communication of climate change risks.  He also served as an academic adviser for the report.

Once I have time to review the report, I’ll have more to say.  But I do wonder how a similar kind of report would be done (if it could be done) in the United States.  Would this resemble a report of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, or the National Science and Technology Council?  Or would it carry something of the imprimatur of the President’s Science Adviser?  If it’s the latter, maybe we could borrow from the British…again.