University of Dundee

"Discovery Seminar - Science advice in government at times of stress’

Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 14:00 to 15:00
Event Location: 
Microsoft Teams
Professor Claire Halpin FRSE FRSB
Event Speaker: 
Professor Sir Ian L. Boyd
University of St Andrews
Event Type: 



Professor Sir Ian Lamont Boyd, FRSE, FRSB is a Scottish zoologist, environmental and polar scientist, former Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is a Professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews.  He is Chair of the UK Research Integrity Office.  He is currently a participant on the governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).  He has received the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and the Bruce Medal (awarded once every 4 years) for his research in polar science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Biology. In 2017 Ian was awarded the prestigious Polar Medal.



The COVID-19 SAGE has brought to the surface, and challenged, a science advisory system which has been in development for many decades. In this seminar I will describe what I think are the essential elements of an effective science advisory process and how they can be delivered. Emergencies can be either acute, as in the case of COVID-19, or chronic, as in the case of bovine tuberculosis or climate change but all are dependent on building resilience in to society. The role of government in this is critical, and the role of science in providing leadership about how to build resilience is also critical. This is about ensuring there is an integrated organisational structure within government which is receptive to diverse perspectives.


The talk will be delivered via Teams, the University’s preferred platform.  Please be patient if we encounter any issues. If you wish to raise a question of the guest speaker, you can either type in the chat bar during the seminar, or you can select the raise your hand icon during the Q&A session.