However, I often worry if the public, politicians and policy makers really understand or, at least, are accurately interpreting the science behind the evidence.
In the UK, we have seen the recent launch of a report from the ‘What Works Centres’, designed to make the best evidence of what works available to our decision makers.
With top findings from the UK so far including:
- The use of peer tutoring in schools, where young people work together in small groups, has a high positive impact on achievement
- Putting more policemen on the beat does not necessarily reduce crime, unless officers are carefully targeted
- More lives could be saved or improved if people with acute heart failure were routinely treated by specialist heart failure teams
As engineers and researchers, it is our job to ensure that we send a clear message of what our work means, why it matters, where it is applicable and how and when it should be used.
I recently came across a Nature article discussing ‘Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims’ which made me evaluate the message I am sending to decision makers.
From this I have put together a list of just ten things I think we need to tell people know to ensure they understand and correctly interpret the science behind our chemical engineering message: