Keynote speakers

Day 1: Opening Keynote

Professor Brian Collins, Director of the Centre for Engineering Policy, UCL

"The complexity of the modern research landscape is exemplified by the three words that qualify it in the title of the event; the level of political interest in the value of research has grown markedly in the last decade; the interest and influence of the media has changed the public attitude to research in a range of fields, medical, environmental, information; the impact of research has been more subtle in creating better quality products and services and a better lifestyle for most people in developed countries. As the world becomes a more joined up place and is more impacted by extreme events and the interdependencies between developed and developing countries becomes more critical, the need for a joined up approach to multidisciplinary research, open political debate, media dissemination and means of evaluation of success becomes critical to well-being of the human species. I will address these issues and how academia might be the convenor of this debate on achieving greater coherence in this critical field of endeavour."

Professor Brian Collins took up the role of Professor of Engineering Policy at University College London on 1st August 2011 and is Director of the Centre for Engineering Policy and PI on a £3.5M grant running the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures. He is also co-investigator on a £10M research programme investigating liveable cities for the future, specialising in governance and policy issues

Prior to his appointment at UCL he was the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and CSA for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) from 2006 to 2011. He was Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University from August 2003 until July 2011. He was a member of the Council of Science and Technology working party that published in 2009 the report ‘A National Infrastructure for the 21st Century’ under the leadership of Sir Mark Walport, now GCSA. In 2009 Professor Collins was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In the 2011 New Year Honours List, he was bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen the Honour of Companion of the Bath (CB). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers, of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, of the British Computer Society and of the Institute of Physics. He has an Honorary Doctorate from City University London, has a visiting Professorship at Wollongong University, New South Wales, Australia and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University.

Photo of Brian Collins

Professor Brian Collins, CB, FREng, Director of the Centre for Engineering Policy, UCL


Day 1: Media Keynote

Dr Andy Williams, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies

"This lecture will address recent research into UK journalists and their sources and what it tells us about the quality and independence of the news we read about science. It will touch on commonly-accepted roles of science news and how journalists believe these might be attained in practice, before examining a series of constraints which hinder this. Constraints such as: changes in journalists’ working conditions since the advent of new media; the rise of secretive and manipulative corporate science public relations (PR); the use of persuasive communicational tactics to campaign on controversial scientific issues; and the growth of promotional activities by Universities and academic publishers since the marketization of higher education."

Dr. Andy Williams is a Lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. He was previously the RCUK Research Fellow in Risk, Health and Science Communication (2008-10).

He has provided expert opinion and advice to a number of government bodies, media groups, and professional associations including the BBC, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Expert Group on Science and the Media, the National Union of Journalists, and the Welsh Assembly’s Broadcasting Subcommittee. He regularly contributes to the UK national and regional press and broadcast media, including Times Higher Education, Nature News, the New Statesman, national BBC Breakfast News, the Guardian Unlimited, Press Gazette, OpenDemocracy, and BBC Wales television and radio news.

Photo of Andy Williams

Dr Andy Williams, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies


Day 2: Opening Keynote

Professor Ian Lamont Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra

Professor Ian Boyd’s career has evolved from Physiological ecologist with the Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, to a Science Programme Director with the British Antarctic Survey, Director at the Natural Environment Research Council’s Sea Mammal Research Unit, Chief Scientist to the Behavioural Response Study for the US-Navy, Director for the Scottish Oceans Institute and acting Director and Chairman with the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland. He has also been the Chief Executive or board member of several companies for the University of St Andrews. He is currently Professor in Biology at the University of St Andrews and Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In parallel to his formal positions he has chaired, co-chaired or directed international scientific assessments; his activities focusing upon the management of human impacts on the marine environment.
Ian was responsible for establishing the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, one of Scotland’s cross-institutional research pools including eight of Scotland’s universities. He established several operating companies for the University of St Andrews and these now operate globally with subsidiaries in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong. As Director of the NERC Sea Mammal Research Unit he was responsible for advising Defra and the Scottish Government about policy related to marine mammals. He is also a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council and is on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science. Professor Boyd has received numerous honours and awards recognising his contributions to science, including the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London, the Bruce Medal (awarded once every 4 years) for his research in Polar Science and has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy, and is a Fellow of the Society of Biology

  Photo of Ian Boyd

Professor Ian Lamont Boyd, FSB, FRSE and Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra 


Day 3: Opening Keynote

Professor Steve Rayner, Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford

"The talk will explore the epistemic cultures of the sciences, social sciences and humanities and the relationship between them. Using the issue of climate change and geoengineering, it will highlight the epistemic and corresponding ethical fault line that runs through the social sciences leading to valorization of contrasting modes of inquiry and ideas of what counts as evidence. It will also raise the broader question of why and how non-experts in any field choose to give or deny credibility to experts."

Professor Steve Rayner is James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at Oxford University’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, where he also co-directs the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities and the Oxford Geoengineering Programme, both supported by the Oxford Martin School. He is also Honorary Professor of Climate Change and Society at the University of Copenhagen and Senior Fellow at The Breakthrough Institute, a non-partisan environmental NGO based in California’s Bay Area. He previously held senior research positions in two US National Laboratories and has taught at leading US universities, including Cornell, Virginia Tech, and Columbia.

He has served on various US, UK, and international bodies addressing science, technology and the environment, including Britain’s Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Royal Society’s Working Group on Climate Geoengineering. Until 2008, he also directed the national Science in Society Research Programme of the UK Economic and Social Research Council. He is the Founding and General Editor of the Science in Society book series published by Earthscan. Professor Rayner has received numerous awards, including the 25th Homer N. Calver Award from the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Director’s Award for R&D Excellence and two Martin Marietta Energy Systems Awards for groundbreaking work in risk analysis and global climate change policy analysis respectively. He was included in the 2008 Smart List by Wired Magazine as 'one of the 15 people the next US President should listen to'.


Professor Steve Rayner, Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford


Science, Technology and Society Priority Group

Law and Social Sciences Building
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151