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PLoS One. 2014 May 30;9(5):e96480. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096480. eCollection 2014.

Identifying the science and technology dimensions of emerging public policy issues through horizon scanning.

Author information

1
Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
2
Sciencewise, Harwell, Didcot, United Kingdom.
3
The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
4
School of the Physical Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
5
Nesta, London, United Kingdom.
6
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, London, United Kingdom.
7
Involve, London, United Kingdom.
8
Ipsos MORI, London, United Kingdom.
9
Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Group, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.
10
Clare Hall, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
11
NanoDTC, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
12
Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
13
Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
14
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
15
RAND Europe, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
16
The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom.
17
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
18
Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
19
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
20
Pfizer Ltd, Kent, United Kingdom.
21
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London, United Kingdom.
22
Natural England, London, United Kingdom.
23
University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
24
Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom.
25
Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
26
Understanding Animal Research, London, United Kingdom.
27
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
28
The Royal Academy of Engineering, London, United Kingdom.
29
Cabinet Office, London, United Kingdom.
30
Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (4CMR), Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
31
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Salisbury, United Kingdom.
32
Keble College, Oxford, United Kingdom.
33
Pembroke College, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
34
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.
35
Home Office, London, United Kingdom.
36
Ministry of Defence, London, United Kingdom.
37
Government Office for Science, London, United Kingdom.
38
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, London, United Kingdom.
39
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.
40
Green Alliance, London, United Kingdom.
41
Engineering Design Centre, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
42
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Public policy requires public support, which in turn implies a need to enable the public not just to understand policy but also to be engaged in its development. Where complex science and technology issues are involved in policy making, this takes time, so it is important to identify emerging issues of this type and prepare engagement plans. In our horizon scanning exercise, we used a modified Delphi technique. A wide group of people with interests in the science and policy interface (drawn from policy makers, policy adviser, practitioners, the private sector and academics) elicited a long list of emergent policy issues in which science and technology would feature strongly and which would also necessitate public engagement as policies are developed. This was then refined to a short list of top priorities for policy makers. Thirty issues were identified within broad areas of business and technology; energy and environment; government, politics and education; health, healthcare, population and aging; information, communication, infrastructure and transport; and public safety and national security.

PMID:
24879444
PMCID:
PMC4039428
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0096480
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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