Science should be an important electoral issue. Science funding, science-based policy and science education take up a substantial part of a country’s budget, so why are they not more widely discussed at election time?
The current UK government has thrown the proverbial hat into the ring - emphasising the benefits of a science-literate graduate workforce by providing additional university places for science, maths, technology and engineering students, but what of future governments? How can we, as scientists, use our votes to ensure a better future for our profession and better benefits for and from our research?
Science alone cannot change the world. We have a better chance if policy is rooted in good scientific evidence, and if those who debate policies have an understanding of how science works. It is possible to get involved through consultations, but knowing where to look for those opportunities is not always obvious. If we interrogate potential MPs about their stance on major scientific issues at the next election, we will perhaps have a chance to change things for the better.
The number of MPs who have a scientific background is painfully small. Perhaps one solution would be to convince more scientists to stand for election.
The Undercover academic is a university lecturer in the UK
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