Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Tracey Brown, 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, public policy associate
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.
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 critical in the move towards a compassionate and flourishing society. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the drums and guitar with other musicians, writing, 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.
Stephanie Mathisen, campaigns and policy officer
Stephanie joined the Sense About Science team as campaigns and policy officer in November 2015. Stephanie recently finished her PhD at the University of Oxford, where she researched the role of immune cells during intestinal inflammation. She also has a BSc Honours degree in Immunology from the University of Glasgow. During her PhD Stephanie attended a VoYS Standing Up for Science workshop and has been following Sense About Science’s activities ever since. Stephanie feels passionately that evidence should play a key role in decision-making and is excited about contributing to Sense About Science’s aims to promote this throughout society. Stephanie will be supporting Sense About Science’s campaigns, policy and responsive work.
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 2000 early career researchers and coordinates projects on issues that matter to them. Victoria manages Sense About Science events including an annual lecture, and works with scientists to support their public engagement work. 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. Since August 2014, she has been leading on a project to help young people develop their critical thinking skills, creating a schools resource and social media campaign to encourage 13-16 year olds to ask for evidence. 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 director
Julia is Development Director 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.
Ed is a PhD student at Imperial College London, where his research examines reasons for the impaired performance of oral vaccines (especially oral polio vaccine) in low-income countries. Before his PhD, he worked for the Future Science Group as a commissioning editor for several of their peer-reviewed journals. He is currently carrying out a three month internship at Sense About Science supported by the Medical Research Council. During his internship, Ed is assisting with the Ask For Evidence campaign as well as the plant science and energy panels.
Georgina is a PhD student at the University of St Andrews looking at decision-making in animals, and when certain decisions may or may not be considered ‘rational’. Prior to this, she obtained her Master’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast where she studied animal behaviour and welfare. As part of her doctoral training programme, Georgina is able to carry out a three month internship, and has chosen to work with Sense About Science where she will be assisting in the Ask for Evidence campaign, as well as the plant science and energy online panels.
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.