Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee

Session 2008-09

3 August 2009


In preparation for the creation of the Science and Technology Committee on 1 October, the IUSS Committee is commissioning work to assess the Government's use of evidence in policy-making. The Committee has written to the Government on a number of topics and asked two questions: (1) What is the policy? (2) On what evidence is the policy based?

The topics are:

€”the licensing of homeopathic products by the MHRA

€”the diagnosis and management of dyslexia

€”swine flu vaccinations

€”literacy and numeracy interventions

€”the teaching of 'pseudoscience' at universities

€”health checks for over 40s

€”measuring the benefits of publicly-funding research

€”the future of genetic modification (GM) technologies

€”the regulation of synthetic biology

€”the use of offender data.

The Committee will review the Government's responses in October.

Additionally, the Committee is calling on the public to identify other areas of government policy that require an 'evidence check' and be subject to the two questions above. Topics must be within the remit of the new Committee€”to look at all matters within the responsibility of the Government Office for Science, including cross-departmental responsibility for scientific and engineering advice€”and should also:

€”be capable of being covered in a maximum of two oral evidence sessions if the Committee decides to follow up the initial evidence check (each of which could involve two or three sets of witnesses)

€”be timely

€”not relate to individual cases/matters before Courts or Tribunals.

Please send us, in 750 words or fewer:

€”your suggested topic

€”why it should be evidence checked in late 2009/early 2010

€”your suggested witnesses, should an oral evidence session/sessions take place.

You should also declare any interests you have in making the suggestion.

Please email your suggestions to by 1 October 2009.