Bringing together dots and democracy at the ECS Policy Corner

Policy corner

Lucky Cullen, ECS Policy Officer and Chris Brown, Policy & Public Affairs Manager

The 28th of March marked the first SfAM ‘Policy Corner’ at the 7th ECS Research Symposium (although not technically in a corner). Myself and Chris, supported by SfAM’s Policy Subcommittee, wanted to use this opportunity to show our early career scientists what science policy is all about, what SfAM does to support its members and, most importantly, what opportunities are available for ECS members to get involved! As a society, we aim to strengthen the bond between policy and science.

From the selection of information at our policy corner, such as the Society’s position statement on Antimicrobial Resistance, our ECS members’ interest was caught by a Sense about Science flyer on ‘getting your research into Parliament’. Speaking with delegates, we realised that a number of people hadn’t considered sharing their research with their local Member of Parliament, and did not know how to get started. Check out Sense about Science’s top ten tips for yourself!

Getting your research into parliament

Image adapted from under a CC-BY NC License

The biggest success for our policy corner was definitely the ‘dotmocracy’ activity. Here we asked delegates to take part in a popular vote on what they believed to be the most important policy relevant microbiology topic, which parliamentarians should be made aware of. Coloured dots were provided to all delegates numbered 1, 2 and 3 to indicate order of priority. Hot topics included; Infectious diseases, food production and safety, industrial uses and synthetic biology, energy production and waste management and lastly the environment: soil and water.

ECS Dotmocracy

As you can see from the results below, we had a clear majority. Our ECS members had spoken and the winner of our dotmocracy vote was INFECTIOUS DISEASE. It was great to hear that even one of our keynote speakers, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, loved our dotmocracy idea and felt very reassured in our members with the outcome of the vote!

Dotmocracy Results

Weighting applied: 1st priority (3), 2nd priority (2), 3rd priority (1)

We were extremely pleased that a number of delegates expressed an interest in being involved with future science policy events and activities (even if the free sweets played a slight part in this)! We would like to thank all those who chatted with us on the day – we look forward to getting in touch with you in the future. For those who were unable to attend the ECS Symposium, fear not: we’ll be sure to roll out the Policy Corner (and perhaps even some more dotmocracy) at other SfAM meetings!

Lucky Cullen, ECS Policy Officer

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