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British academics welcome Lords report on Science and Society

British academics have responded warmly to a recent report from the UK House of Lords on 'Science and Society'. The report encourages a new culture of public discourse on science, tying in appropriately with the launch on March 20 of the UK's National Science Week'.

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British academics have responded warmly to a recent report from the UK House of Lords on 'Science and Society'. The report encourages a new culture of public discourse on science, tying in appropriately with the launch on March 20 of the UK's National Science Week'.

National Science Week is an initiative aimed to bring science closer to the public with museums and universities opening their laboratory doors to schoolchildren and the general public. British television broadcasters will also host a range of programmes popularising science and technology.

The House of Lords report calls for UK grant giving bodies and the Higher Education Funding Council to acknowledge scientists who are proactive in bringing the results of their research to a wider audience. It also recommends that the UK Government supports science centres in England and Wales through the establishment of a 'Science Trust' similar to one now operating in Scotland.

In addition, the Lords acknowledges the UK British Association for the Advancement of Science's (UKBAAS) call for schools to equip children with 'scientific literacy' that would enable them to make informed choices and decisions as citizens in the technology age.

In their report, the Lords also recommend that all scientists should undergo training to help improve their communication skills and help them to work more closely with the media, understanding journalists' needs and wants. However, Dr Peter Briggs, UKBAAS Chief Executive, suggested that this onus should fall more on universities and public relations departments.

European Science Week is scheduled for 6 to 12 November 2000.

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