Annual Lecture 2015: The Ugly Truth

by Tracey Brown, director of Sense About Science

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AllTrials launched in the US with 50 supporting organisations

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Plant Science Panel

Insecticides, biofuels, GMOs …

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Ask for Evidence

in policy, advertising, media and more ...

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Sense About Science runs imaginative public campaigns involving wide collaboration across society that change the nature of debates. Our award winning campaigns aim to make a permanent difference across all areas of our work and to create an environment that supports open public discussion about scientific research, free from intimidation, hysteria and political pressure. We need you to get involved.

How we campaign

We scrutinise media frenzies, advertising material, advice columns, campaign statements, public health schemes and celebrity pronouncements and run campaigns to hold people to account for pseudoscience wherever we see it. We monitor policy announcements, reports of intimidation, common prejudice and single issue group activity for barriers to open scientific debate and campaign to remove these.

This section has information on some of our biggest campaigns and on how you can get involved. Our VoYS network also engages hundreds of early career researchers in campaigns on mythbusting and holding companies to account.


The impact of our campaigns

Our campaigns have made us the ‘go to’ organisation for both the public and scientists who feel they don’t get access to evidence or are not free to discuss it. Some of our recent achievements include:

  • An award winning campaign that helped patients and carers weigh up claims about treatments advertised on the internet.
  • With specialists and scientific bodies we persuaded the EU to repeal the Physical Agents Directive which threatened research using MRI in 2008 – the first time an EU Directive has ever been repealed
  • With specialists from our database and journalists worldwide we have made our Celebrity and Science review an eagerly anticipated annual event that brings discussion of science and evidence into forums it never otherwise appears
  • With hundreds of leading scientific advisors we convinced the UK Government include principles for the treatment of independent scientific advice in the Ministerial Code
  • VoYS worked with medics in Africa to persuade the WHO to condemn the promotion of homeopathy for serious diseases in the developing world for the first time.
  • With 55,000 people, 60 civic society organisations and our partners English PEN and Index on Censorship we convinced the UK Government to publish a Draft Defamation Bill in March 2011 – the first chance in a century to reform outdated libel laws that inhibit scientific and medical discussion worldwide
  • With leading neuroscientists and scientific bodies we raised awareness among local authorities and teachers about the lack of evidence for Brain Gym leading to many schools dropping the programme

Get involved

You can always get involved in our campaigns whether by signing a petition, writing a letter to the Prime Minister, helping us set up an event or blogging on an issue. Sign up to our newsletter and we’ll keep you informed. Right now we need you to:

  • Write to your MP, if you live in the UK, asking them to back libel reform in next year's Queen's Speech
  • Use our new postcards to Ask for Evidence
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