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Science for Defra: excellence in the application of evidence

A two-day conference in March 2017 brought together nearly three-hundred academics, government scientists and policymakers for an open and collaborative discussion about how science and technology can best inform environmental, food and rural policy.

Defra and the Royal Society showcased the best in both academic and government science, allowing identification of evidence gaps and development of core research principles. The conference covered a range of Defra’s areas of interest, including food and farming, animal health, environmental quality, and the provision of services from the natural environment.

The programme included presentations showcasing the application of evidence across Defra’s areas of interest, and panel discussions about the potential for scientific advance to identify and tackle policy challenges. There were also ‘futures’ workshop sessions considering priorities and trade-offs over the next 25 years. These sessions pushed participants to explore ideas beyond their usual specialisms and resulted in a rich dialogue between academic and policy communities.

Building on Defra’s science-driven approach, this conference was an opportunity to develop excellence in the application of evidence to policymaking, and also identified lessons for other government departments. Download the report.


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 © Copyright Scriberia Limited 2016.

This artwork illustrates discussions at a workshop and in no way reflects either Defra or Royal Society policy position.

Find out more

Explore the storify of tweets from the conference.

Read a series of blog posts relating to the conference.

View the conference posters.

  • Future of Research and Emerging Technology

    This session explored the future direction of research and policy, and the potential application of emerging technologies.

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  • Environmental Quality

    This session demonstrated Defra science across a broad range of environmental quality issues, in domains such as atmospheric, marine and terrestrial quality.

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  • Climate Change and Environmental Quality and Marine

    The first section considers the implications of climate change and changing working practices for environmental quality. The second section explores the use of monitoring and management for the Marine environment.

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  • Animal Health and Food and Farming

    This session includes presentations and shorter poster pitches of the Defra science underpinning animal health and food and farming evidence.

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  • Cross-cutting research

    This session will present the cross-cutting research undertaken by the Defra group.

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  • Animal health and food and farming

    This session, chaired by James Wood, explores the future for animal health research and food and farming with three presentations from across the Defra group.

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  • Environmental Quality Keynote

    Keynote presentation by David Fowler FRS, CEH, Edinburgh, followed by discussion panel.

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    Read the Air Quality overview

  • Food and Farming Keynote

    Keynote presentation by Corinna Hawkes, City, University of London.

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  • Data and Emerging Technology

    Panel discussion chaired by Sir Martin Sweeting FRS, University of Surrey.

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  • Re-launch of the Science and Engineering Profession within Government Keynote

    Keynote presentation by Sir Mark Walport FRS, Government Chief Scientific Advisor.

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