GPSS – Science & Policy Summit 2012

By | July 15, 2012

Since arriving at UW almost four years ago, I’ve been involved in student politics. I’ve not talked about it here as most of it is rather prosaic and, for those not at UW, largely irrelevant. Every now and then, though, something comes up which might be of wider interest..

In early May, GPSS, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, ran its second Science and Policy Summit, an event for academics, policy-makers, and the general public that looks at the interactions between scientific research and policy development. This year, we ran two panels, one on the impact of bioinformatics on preventive medicine, and the other on the role of science in public political discussion, focusing on the US Presidential debates. As well as the panels, we also ran a series of short talks, inspired by the TED model.

There were about 10 talks, 10 minutes each, delivered by a mix of graduate students, post-docs, and faculty, and of a very high quality. Here’s a few topics to whet your interest:

  • Couch safety, various failed attempts at regulation, and the fate of your cat
  • The ups and downs of developing tourism as a means of restoring communities and ecosystems in SE Asia
  • A passionate argument for the necessity of cosmology research
  • The woeful state of healthcare in the US (not health funding, but healthcare itself), including some rather damning statistics and factoids, presented as humorously as possible

We recorded all of the talks, and they’ve now been posted to YouTube. They’re all rather interesting, and worth at least a look, even if the film quality isn’t all I’d hoped when I filmed them.