The Patrick Vallance Interview
10.12.2021 - By The Life Scientific
Could the lessons learnt during the pandemic put us in a stronger position to tackle other big science-based challenges ahead, such as achieving carbon net zero, preserving a diversity of species, and protecting our privacy and slowing the spread of misinformation online?
As Chief Scientific Adviser to the government during a pandemic, Patrick Vallance's calm, clear summaries of the state of our scientific understanding of the virus were welcomed by many. But what was going on behind the scenes? In this extended interview with Jim Al-Khalili, Patrick opens up about the challenges involved in presenting scientific evidence to government and together they explore that trickiest of relationships - the one between scientists and politicians.
He also looks to the future. Scientists gain prominence during a crisis but the need for scientific input to government is ever present. As head of the new Office for Science and Technology Strategy, based in the Cabinet Office, Patrick hopes to put science and technology at the heart of policy making in government. Science should be as central to government as the economy, he says and tells Jim how he thinks that could be achieved.
Producer: Anna Buckley