Cambridge Conversations: Decision-making, politics and expertise

Cambridge Conversations: Decision-making, politics and expertise

Cambridge Conversations: Decision-making, politics and expertise
Monday 14 March 2022, 6.30pm to 7.20pm GMT
Past event
Past event
Monday 14 March 2022, 6.30pm to 7.20pm GMT
  • House of Commons with Cambridge Conversations logo

Photo by UK Parliament Flickr, changes made from the orginial, shorturl.at/bnxBF

Photo by UK Parliament Flickr, changes made from the orginial, shorturl.at/bnxBF

Decision-making, politics and expertise: happy marriage or uneasy bedfellows?
Open to: 
Alumni and guests

Government decision-making is never out of the headlines. The past two years have thrown the relationship between politics and expertise into sharp and difficult relief.

But how do government decisions get made? What are the formal, informal and sometimes enigmatic structures and processes that produce the results? And how do policymakers navigate morally charged and complex phenomena to make fast, effective and necessary decisions?

We consider the ideal blend of facts, evidence, opinion and leadership in a timely conversation with three experts. Professor Dennis Grube, Acting Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy will host the event, and will bring together two expert speakers in conversation: Professor John Aston, Harding Professor of Statistics in Public Life and former Home Office Chief Scientific Advisor, and Professor Anna Alexandrova, Professor in Philosophy of Science. 

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Speakers

Professor Dennis Grube

Professor Dennis Grube

Professor Dennis C. Grube is Professor of Politics and Public Policy in the POLIS Department at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Girton College. He is Acting Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, where he also leads the research programme on decision-making in government. His research interests include political decision-making, administrative leadership, institutional memory, and the role of political rhetoric in public policy.

Professor Anna Alexandrova

Professor Anna Alexandrova

Professor Anna Alexandrova is a Professor in Philosophy of Science and a fellow of King's College, University of Cambridge. She writes about how scientists navigate morally charged and complex phenomena such as wellbeing and mental health, and the role of formal models and indicators in their scholarly and public work. Since 2018, Anna has been the Principal Investigator on the ‘Expertise Under Pressure’ project at the Centre for Humanities and Social Change.

Professor Sir John Aston (Pembroke 1995, Mathematics)

Professor Sir John Aston

Professor Sir John Aston is Harding Professor of Statistics in Public Life at the University of Cambridge. He leads research into the use of quantitative evidence in public policymaking, works with those in public life to ensure the best methods are used, and aims to improve the use of statistics and other quantitative evidence in public policy debates. He also works with statistics in healthcare, particularly medical imaging, and is Co-Director of the Cambridge Mathematics of Information in Healthcare Hub. From 2017-20, John was seconded to the Home Office as Chief Scientific Adviser and Director-General for Science, Technology, Analysis, Research and Strategy (STARS). Here he not only worked in an advisory capacity, but also supervised and commissioned research. He was awarded a knighthood in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to statistics and public policymaking.

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