Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Tracey Brown, managing director
Tracey has been the Director of Sense About Science since 2002. She 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. In her time at Sense About Science Tracey has led campaigns for sound science and evidence in public life and she has written and edited many public guides to scientific research. She is a regular public speaker and writes about scientific evidence, policy and the public, for national media, periodicals and books. She was a Commissioner on the UK Drug Policy Commission 2009-2012, and a trustee of Centre of the Cell until December 2013, and is now a trustee of the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, and of Jurassica. Her recent book with Michael Hanlon, In the Interests of Safety, is an exploration of safety and security rules that have no basis in evidence, and a manifesto for changing them. Read about Tracey's book and some of Tracey's articles here.
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.
Ian Bushfield, campaigns support officer
Ian joined Sense About Science in 2014 as Campaigns Support Officer. He supports all Sense About Science’s campaigns but has a particular focus on the AllTrials campaign including developing the campaign website and materials and coordinating supporter communications.Before moving to the UK, he earned a Masters degree in physics in Canada. There he also worked as Executive Director for the British Columbia Humanist Association and Director of Development for the Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia. He has volunteered for a number of science outreach organisations in Canada and the UK.
James Cockerill, campaigns manager
James joined Sense About Science as Campaigns Manager in May 2015. James works on all of our campaigns with a focus on the AllTrials campaign for clinical trial transparency. Prior to working for Sense About Science, he worked in education as a teacher of science, and for 4 years in a variety of communications roles within the pharmaceutical industry. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Sheffield. James feels passionately that science, and a willingness to talk openly about evidence are key qualities in the move towards a compassionate and flourishing society. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the drums and guitar with other musicians, writing, practising mindfulness and either playing or watching football, describing his avid Birmingham City support as 'unfortunate'.
Max Goldman, development officer
Max joined Sense About Science in March 2013. He is responsible for project development and communications, working specifically on Ask for Evidence. 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.
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. Read some of Emily's articles here.
Síle Lane, director of campaigns
Síle oversees Sense About Science’s campaigns and responsive work. Our campaigns include the libel reform campaign which led to the Defamation Act 2013, the Ask for Evidence campaign which encourages everyone to ask for evidence for every claim they see and the AllTrials campaign for clinical trial transparency. Síle organised the Big Libel Gig at the Palace Theatre in 2010, appears regularly in the media in the Guardian and on the Today programme, chairs debates with leading scientists and commentators, gives evidence to parliament and spends a lot of time helping researchers, regulators, policy makers, companies and NGOs to talk about science and evidence openly, humanly and without stigma and intimidation. Síle joined Sense About Science as Public Liaison in February 2009 to work with patient groups, civic society organisations and medical research charities to promote the tools of scientific thinking and challenge misleading claims. Before this she was a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial College London working on stem cells and regenerative medicine. Read articles by Sile here.
Victoria Murphy, programme manager
Victoria is Programme Manager at Sense About Science. She coordinates the VoYS (Voice of Young Science) programme, working with over 20 partners to deliver four media workshops and two peer review workshops each year for early career researchers. She also liaises with the VoYS network of 1800 early career researchers and coordinates projects on issues that matter to them. Victoria manages Sense About Science events including an annual lecture - a key event on our calendar attended by an audience of policy makers, scientists, academics, clinicians, public figures and journalists. Victoria launched the inaugural John Maddox Prize for standing up for science in 2012, a joint initiative of Nature Publishing Group, the Kohn Foundation and Sense About Science. Victoria coordinates this now annual prize to recognise those who stand up for science. Before joining the team in September 2011 as events and campaigns officer, Victoria worked in the mining industry and science outreach. Read articles by Victoria here.
Chris Peters, scientific liaison
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 as well as running the plant science panel.
Joanne Thomas, projects and events officer
Joanne joined Sense About Science in January 2015 as Projects and Events Officer. She shares responsibility for planning the annual reception and lecture, and workshops for the VoYS network. She is also supporting the new editions of Making Sense of Screening and Testing. Prior to joining the team, Joanne completed a Masters degree in Science Communication at the University of the West of England, where her dissertation focused on the role of public relations within science journalism. Before this, she volunteered at the Science Museum and At-Bristol Science Centre and worked at the Science Media Centre, a press office that aims to improve media coverage of science. Joanne also has an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford.
Alex Thompson, research & policy officer
Alex joined the Sense About Science team in November 2014. He supports the Evidence Matters Campaign and coordinates the expert working groups, writes and edits for our projects, including the Making Sense of...guides. He recently finished his PhD, based at the University of Cape Town, where he investigated parent-offspring dynamics in a cooperatively breeding bird. He spent almost six years conducting research, in various capacities, in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. After seeing the misrepresentation of his and his friend’s research in the public media, Alex became increasingly interested in science communication and the public understanding of science which has led him to Sense About Science. Alex has a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
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. Read articles by Julia here.
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. Read some of Leonor's articles here.
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.
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.
Chelsea is volunteering as part of her PhD at the University of Reading. Her research focuses on a gene in oilseed rape seeds that responds to wounding. She has a BSc in Applied Biology from the University of Nottingham and has also completed an ERASMUS year at AgroParisTech. She has been involved in a number of science outreach and public engagement events with the University of Reading, BBSRC and the British Science Association. At Sense About Science Chelsea is helping out with the Ask for Evidence campaign and the plant science panel.
I joined Sense About Science in June 2015 as part of my summer work experience after my GCSEs. I enjoy the sciences and intend to study Astrophysics at university. I understand the need for good scientific communication and came here to find out more about how Sense About Science works.
Mabon is currently on a volunteer placement in the Sense About Science office as part of his PhD programme at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. His research is on plant evolution and flower colour choices made by bumblebees. He has an MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement from the John Innes Centre and the University of East Anglia, and before this, he studied Plant Science at the University of Manchester. At Sense About Science, Mabon is involved in the Ask for Evidence campaign and the plant science panel. He has also helped out with some design work, including an infographic to accompany the Making Sense of Chemical Stories guide.
For the past year Elle has been the submissions editor for a student science and technology magazine in Scotland, theGIST. She learned about Sense About Science when helping to organise theGIST conference which explored science and evidence-based policy, and developed a student article competition– the prize was a place at a VoYS Standing up for Science media workshop. Elle has completed a number of research internships, including at the Scottish Independence Advocacy Alliance in Edinburgh and at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, and in 2012 she received a scholarship to debate in a youth forum at the 2012 World Trade Organisation Public Forum. She also had her research on uncertainty within major international financial organisations published by the 2013 Australian Institute of International Affairs Emerging Scholars Journal. Elle recently graduated with a postgraduate diploma in public and urban policy from the University of Glasgow and also has a Masters of International Relations from Macquarie University in Sydney.
Gabriella is in her final year studying for a Bsc in Zoology at Leeds University. Her research is focussed on sexual selection in fruit flies. She first became interested in scientific communication while on the Gatsby plant science summer school, and at university she presents a radio show ‘Weekly Wildlife Watch’. She recently had an article published in Antenna about social insect societies. At Sense About Science, Gabriella is helping support the Ask for Evidence campaign and the Voice of Young Science network.
Tabitha Innocent, adviser
Tabitha was the Scientific Liaison at Sense About Science, coordinating our work with scientists to respond to misconceptions about science and evidence in public debate. She was responsible for communications including our newsletter; and for matching scientists with projects and requests for help from journalists and civic groups. Projects included 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.
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.
Maria Kuźma-Kuźniarska, Designer
Maria holds a BSc and MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Gdansk, Poland and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Liverpool. Currently, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher at Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), Oxford University. She is also a freelance biomedical illustrator and figurative artist. Maria has supported Sense About Science as a volunteer graphic designer since 2012.