This session explodes myths about the seldom seen science behind some of today's most controversial public policy issues, particularly in Ireland. Case-studies will spotlight that crucial interface between science, policy and society vis-à-vis nuclear energy, crop innovations (GMOs), and harm reduction (tobacco). Accepting that societal problems are not necessarily problems with purely scientific solutions, speakers will argue that calculated risks are fundamental to realising proven benefits. Fukushima or not, why is it so difficult to separate fact from fiction on nuclear reactor safety and waste management solutions? What are the known and unknown implications of innovation in biotechnology and genetic engineering? Is tobacco harm reduction the greatest public health imperative today or is quit or die enough? Their common cause will be to demonstrate that innovative science is ever more prevalent and important. Their common aim will be to urge the wider scientific community to think – and act – in the global interest, while pressing the re-set button for evidence-based policy above policy-biased evidence. Their approach will not be to assume that scientific consensus can exist or to frame issues as science vs. the public with science in the right. Yet, all governments face challenges in terms of how science is viewed and used with the gap between public perceptions and scientific realities widening. Citizens are, nevertheless, unequivocal in their support for finding solutions to global issues.
Attendance numbers do not account for private attendees. Get there early!