Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Tracey Brown, managing director
Tracey joined Sense About Science as director in its founding year 2002. Tracey has a background in social research, and previously spent four years working on a European Commission programme to establish social research and teaching in the former Soviet Union, and a year setting up a commercially based risk analysis centre. Tracey is a trustee of Centre of the Cell and MATTER. In 2009 she became a commissioner for the UK Drugs Policy Commission. She sits on the Outreach Committee of the Royal College of Pathologists and in 2009 was made a Friend of the College. Tracey became a member of the Agriculture and Food Security Advisory Board in 2011. She is also treasurer of DCA Hernhill Junior FC.
Prateek Buch, director of public policy
Prateek joined the Sense about Science team in September 2013 as Director of the new Public Policy Unit, focussing on the use and misuse of evidence in politics and governance. He has over ten years’ experience as a research scientist, spanning a PhD and post-doctoral research developing disease models and gene therapies for sight loss at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IOO). Between 2011-2013, Prateek ran a comprehensive Patient and Public Engagement progamme at the UCL IOO, communicating his lab’s research through a new website, blogs, social media and patient awareness events. Prateek has participated in Sense about Science campaigns such as Libel Reform and AllTrials, and is on the Science is Vital Executive. He has several years’ experience as a policy-maker in Westminster, advocating an evidence-based approach through his election to the Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee and his work with the Social Liberal Forum.
Max Goldman, development officer
Max joined Sense About Science in March 2013, working specifically for the Ask for Evidence campaign. Prior to working with Sense About Science, Max completed a Masters of Research degree at the London Consortium, a cross-disciplinary group of museums, galleries and academic institutions designed to bridge the gap between public and academic discussion. His dissertation explored the relationship between scientific progress and the public perception of science, and it is this that got him interested in the great work that Sense About Science does. Previously to that, Max worked in an advertising agency and he also has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Oxford.
Tabitha Innocent, scientific liaison
Tabitha is the Science Liaison at Sense About Science, coordinating our work with scientists to respond to misconceptions about science and evidence in public debate. She is responsible for communications including our newsletter; and for matching scientists with projects and requests for help from journalists and civic groups. Current projects include a working group to produce a public guide, Making Sense of Uncertainty; and developing a guide to help people question stories about research on links between exposures and lifestyle. She worked on Sense About Genetic Ancestry, and edited the 2011 and 2012 'Celebrities and Science' reviews, giving interviews for national and international media. Tabitha joined Sense About Science in August 2010. She previously worked with the Science Media Centre, BIS and the Human Tissue Authority, and has a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Edinburgh.
Emily Jesper, assistant director
Emily started working at Sense About Science as assistant director in November 2011. She has nine years experience in scientific publishing. Between 2006 and 2011 she worked at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as the managing editor of the international, peer reviewed journal BJOG. Her positions before that have included, assistant editor at the Novartis Foundation, a small science charity promoting excellence in science and over two years as a biological patent analyst for Thomson Scientific. She has a degree in Biological Science from UMIST, Manchester. Emily also volunteers for a UK wide young person’s helpline.
Síle Lane, director of campaigns
Síle joined Sense About Science as Public Liaison in February 2009 from a career as a stem cell researcher. As Public Liaison Síle worked with regulatory bodies, civic society organisations, the media and policy makers to ensure the public always has access to the best science and evidence. She supported patient groups and medical research charities to promote the tools of scientific thinking and challenge misleading claims. In June 2009 Sense About Science launched the Keep Libel Laws out of Science campaign to reform the UK’s outdated libel laws which inhibit scientific discussion worldwide. Síle manages this campaign and has submitted evidence to Parliamentary and Government enquiries; written for and appeared on national and international media; chaired debates with leading scientists, editors and commentators; organised the fundraising Big Libel Gig at the Palace Theatre, London; and mobilised 55,000 supporters, 60 organisations and hundreds of public figures. The campaign has recently led to the publication of a draft Government libel reform bill. Síle became Campaigns Manager in 2011 and is developing a new dedicated campaigns unit to popularise our approach to standing up for science.
Victoria Murphy, events and campaigns officer
Victoria is Events and Campaigns Officer at Sense About Science. Victoria organises Sense About Science’s annual events, VoYS workshops and projects, and is part of the campaigns team which coordinates ‘Ask For Evidence’. She also launched the inaugural John Maddox Prize for standing up for science, a joint initiative of Nature and Sense About Science. Before joining the team in September 2011, Victoria worked in the mining industry and science outreach.
Chris Peters, campaigns and policy officer
Chris joined Sense About Science as Campaigns and Policy officer in October 2012. Chris has a PhD in plant biology from the University of Sheffield where he also completed his undergraduate masters in biological sciences. Prior to joining Sense About Science, Chris worked as a policy intern at the British Ecological Society and as a blog writer/researcher intern at Carbon Brief. Chris is supporting the Ask for Evidence and Libel Reform campaigns.
Julia Wilson, development manager
Julia is Development Manager at Sense About Science. She is responsible for Sense About Science's fundraising activities and partnerships as well as the international programme of work and communications. Julia launched the Ask for Evidence campaign in Boston in February 2013 and oversaw the launch of the US version of our public guide to peer review. She previously coordinated the Voice of Young Science programme where she headed a campaign that pressured the W.H.O. to respond to the promotion of homeopathy for serious diseases in Africa, and has held many Standing up for Science media workshops in the UK and internationally including South Africa. Julia has a degree in Biology from the University of Manchester and joined the Sense About Science team in April 2009.
Lindsay Hogg, Scottish coordinator
Lindsay is a Senior Investigator Scientist at MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow. She is working on a project called 'Telling good science from bad science' to develop a toolkit to help distinguish good evidence from bad evidence. Lindsay joined Sense About Science in 2010, as the Assistant Director and she now coordinates our Scottish programme on a voluntary basis. She is also currently working on Sense About CSI and the reprint of Making Sense of Chemical Stories. She previously worked at the Glasgow Science Centre where she project managed and developed exhibitions targeted at different audiences on topics from forces, perception or physiology to the ethical implications of scientific endeavour. She has worked in public engagement with science for over 10 years, developing educational activities including shows, workshops, exhibits and games. Lindsay studied genetics at the University of Edinburgh and has a Masters in science communication. Lindsay also sits on the community advisory board of the MRC-HPA centre and is a reviewer for the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant scheme for public engagement with engineering.
Leonor Sierra, US coordinator
Leonor is Senior Science Writer and Press Officer at the University of Rochester in the US and also coordinates our US programme on a voluntary basis. Leonor has a degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD from Cambridge University, where she specialised in Physics. She joined Sense About Science in February 2008 as Scientific Liaison and in 2010, Leonor took on the role of Science and Policy Manager. Her responsibilities included scrutiny of science policy, responding to consultations and coordinating “Making Sense of” guides. In 2011 she took on the development of Sense About Science's international work.
Ben is a project coordinator on the AllTrials campaign for all clinical trials to be registered and results reported. He is developing the campaign's website and communications and is working with global clinical trial registries to set up an international meeting. His most recent background is psychology, where he has worked as a research assistant in clinical health psychology and as an assistant psychologist in adult mental health. Previously he worked in the technical side of IT, developing and maintaining web-based systems. Previously Ben volunteered at Sense About Science, helping with the Libel Reform and Ask for Evidence campaigns, a variety of work in the office, and assisting with the running of events.
Brian has a degree in Physics from Queen Mary, London University and a doctorate from Oxford University where he researched the action of cardiac glycosides on the contractility of cardiac muscle. Following post-doctoral research as a member of the cardiac electro-physiology team led by the eminent British biologist and founding member of Save British Science, Denis Noble, Brian spent thirty years running a musical instrument manufacturing firm and performing professionally on TV, radio, film, recordings and concert platforms as a recorder player. He began working as a volunteer for Sense About Science in December 2010, since when he has been developing the CMS database that supports our events, campaigns, projects and general client relationships.
Lydia Le Page
After first studying Chemistry for my undergraduate degree, I am now nearing the end of my PhD at the University of Oxford. I have been researching metabolism of the diabetic heart and liver non-invasively, using a novel magnetic resonance technique.
I am excited about volunteering at Sense about Science, and have immediately felt very welcome in the office. I look forward to helping out!
I’m about to start my final year at Bath University studying Biochemistry and found out about Sense about Science through my placement year at the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Science communication and public engagement really interest me and spending time at Sense about Science is a great opportunity to gain some more experience in this area.
This week I have been involved with the Maddox Prize and the Ask for Evidence campaign. Volunteering here has given me insight into how important effective communication between the public, scientists and the media is. I was really welcomed as part of the team and would highly recommend volunteering at Sense about Science.
I graduated with a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Warwick in 2011 and an MSc in Bioinformatics from Cranfield University in 2012. I’m about to start a PhD at UCL Genetics Institute. Communication will be an important aspect of my PhD and I’m volunteering at Sense About Science in order to learn how to effectively present and explain my research, which will hopefully improve my project, as well as enabling me to (eventually) become a well-rounded scientist. Sense About Science has a key role in developing the public’s understanding and trust in science and I’m glad to be involved.
I volunteered for Sense About Science for two weeks during the Summer of 2013. I’m currently studying Biomedical Sciences at Oxford University, and considering pursuing a career in science policy. I was first introduced to Sense About Science through Mark Henderson’s book The Geek Manifesto – once I found out about the crucial work the charity does in combating pseudoscience, encouraging people to ask for evidence for spurious claims, and campaigning on multiple vital issues, I was keen to be involved. I had the chance to help in a number of ways during my time in the office, and it was exciting to be involved in such an important organisation.
I had followed and supported the work of Sense About Science for years, since attending one of the free VoYS media workshops. Prior to working in the office, I had been volunteering remotely for the AllTrials campaign and a 'Making Sense of...' guide. Immediately, I was made a part of the team and had a chance to work on lots of different projects and events including the update of the 'I've Got Nothing to Lose' guide, launch of the 'Evidence Based Medicine Matters' guide at Westminster, Ask for Evidence, and VoYS campaigns and workshops. I was also lucky to be around to assist for the Annual Lecture and two celebrations for the Libel Reform campaign. The work of Sense About Science is vital and I support it wholeheartedly. I have gained really valuable experience in a variety of areas with a supportive team.
I am a Biological Sciences student at UCL with a background in both humanities and sciences. What attracted me about Sense about Science was the fact that it seemed to be the right place to gain some experience exploiting my skills in both areas, as I believe that an integrative approach is increasingly important in today's society, and I was not disappointed at all. The office and the team are very welcoming and the tasks performed by volunteers are genuinely stimulating, diverse, and will make you feel like you are indeed contributing to something relevant. It also is a great environment where evidence-based thinking, cutting-edge science and current issues are continuously explored in many ways.
What struck me most about volunteering at Sense About Science has been the variety. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the annual reception, Christmas reading room, writing content for the website, handling media enquiries and working on the AllTrials campaign for all trials registered and all results reported. The experiences I've gained have been incredible. I’ve been working in science education for a while now and I believe that the work Sense About Science does is very important. Science is having an ever increasing impact on our lives and I truly believe that providing the public with the tools they need to make their own decisions is vital.
The variety of work that Sense About Science does and its importance for scientists is what really interested me when I heard about the charity. I feel like I’ve helped with all sorts of projects here; going through newspaper and magazine websites looking for Celebrity Science quotes, helping out at a workshop for early career researchers and getting involved in a review group for a leaflet on pharmacology aimed at students. I am an undergraduate of Biology at Imperial College London and volunteering with on-going campaigns such as Ask for Evidence and Libel Reform has given me a valuable insight into the way in which the world of science works. In the office, I felt welcomed immediately and I always look forward to coming back.
Straight away I was made to feel welcome and part of the team by the friendly staff at Sense About Science. I was given lots of varied and interesting tasks to work on, from helping with their upcoming publication Making Sense of Medicine, to processing nominations for the John Maddox Prize. As an undergraduate student of Biomedical Science I have become much more aware of how confusing the contrasting messages about science in the media can be and I am pleased that I could help Sense About Science in their important work. Overall I gained invaluable experience in the work place and would recommend volunteering here to anyone.
I am currently studying Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Bsc at the University of Nottingham. What initially lured me into wanting to volunteer at Sense About Science is the amalgamation of science, communication and public engagement. Additionally, the work they do is not only great but vast.
It is often strange for those that study or work in the world of science to empathise with those that do not understand the concept of reputable evidence; Sense About Science ensures that this concept is not taken for granted.
Volunteering at Sense About Science has been an incredible experience that has not only allowed me to further myself but has been integral in helping me find my feet in this line of work. The office atmosphere is great and I genuinely look forward to coming in; there is no looking at the clock waiting for the hour hand to strike 5 (something I cannot say about other places I have worked)! I would definitely recommend volunteering here to anyone that is considering it.
James joined Sense About Science in April 2012. He is currently studying International Politics at King’s College London, with an interest in the role policy plays in British healthcare. At Sense About Science he is conducting research into evidence based medicine and helping with the Ask For Evidence and Libel Reform campaigns and other administrative support.
Mark worked at Sense About Science from September 2011 - January 2012. He became interested in public outreach and scientific policy while studying for an Astrophysics Ph.D. While volunteering for Sense About Science in 2010, he undertook a Medical Statistics MSc. While working for Sense About Science he has been involved in a number of activities, including: issues surrounding the restructuring of the ACMD - including drafting evidence to parliamentary select committees, drafting a peer-review guide for early–career researchers, editing documents, including the annual ‘Celebrities and Science’ publication, organising workshops, annual lecture, and annual reception, and website management. He now provides us with website statistics in a voluntary capacity.
I love working with such a committed team of like-minded people. The work that Sense About Science does is vital - giving scientists a real voice to counter the pseudoscience we find all too often in the newspapers - advertorials, reprinted press releases, biased journalists stating opinion as fact. Being able to volunteer gave me an idea of just how much work goes into tackling just these problems. As someone with a chronic illness, I understand how vulnerable patients can be when looking for a treatment. I’ve run a few campaigns against various types of alternative medicine which are not only ineffective, but can actively harm patients. When I’m not volunteering for Sense About Science, I’m studying towards my chemistry, biology, psychology and maths A levels.
Emma graduated from King's College London in 2011 having read biomedical science. She won the 3rd year Biomedical Science prize for the best academic performance and was nominated for a European SET award. She has been assisting with the launch of our new campaign Ask for Evidence, working on some of our publications and writing website content.
Lewis joined the volunteer scheme at Sense About Science in March 2011. He has a PhD from the University of St. Andrews in evolutionary biology and has been a Science and Engineering Ambassador for four years. He was involved in a range of activities at Sense About Science, including working with the Libel Reform Campaign, drafting publications, writing web content, handling enquiries and media calls and assisting with the 2011 annual lecture.
I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2008 with a Masters in Biology, and since then have been studying for a PhD at UCL on the reproductive traits of the stalk-eyed fly. During my studies I have become less interested in research and far more passionate about effective communication and teaching of science, leading to my joining Sense About Science as a volunteer in June 2012. So far I have been involved in working on the Libel Reform Campaign, and am very excited to see how this legislation will change the nature of UK scientific debate.