What does it mean to be an honest broker?

Green Templeton Lectures 2022

Thursday 17 February 2022   17:30


Charles Godfray


EP Abraham Lecture Theatre and Online

Watch live on YouTube

Science advice to government is much in the news at the moment with calls on the one hand to ‘follow the science’ and on the other to ‘not let unelected scientists run the country’. I shall explore the different ways scientists and other experts provide advice in the public realm, the roles they think they play, and how they are perceived. I shall particularly discuss what it means to be an ‘honest broker’ and a project supported by the Oxford Martin School to provide policy-neutral evidence summaries in contested areas of policy.

About the speaker

Professor Sir Charles GodfrayCharles Godfray is a population biologist with broad interests in science and the interplay of science and policy. He has spent his career at Oxford University and Imperial College and is currently Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Population Biology at Oxford. His research has involved experimental and theoretical studies in population and community ecology, epidemiology and evolutionary biology. He is particularly interested in food security and chaired the UK Government Office of Science’s Foresight project on the Future of Food and Farming and recently stepped down as chair of the UK’s agricultural and environment (Defra) ministry’s Science Advisory Council.

The Green Templeton Lecture series

The climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the critical role journalism can play in disseminating vital information while holding power to account and highlighting the voices of people who are not always heard.

The pandemic has also raised the profile of scientists, who have been called on to stand next to politicians and explain complex, fast-changing data sets to the general public. They have had to ask entire populations to change their behaviours in fundamental ways and have had to deal with heightened public and media scrutiny of their private lives, as well as their work.

This series of lectures will look at the interplay between journalism and science, draw out lessons that can be learned and look at how scientists and journalists can effectively communicate the challenges ahead.

The Green Templeton Lectures 2022 are sponsored by Oxford PharmaGenesis, an independent, award-winning HealthScience communications consultancy. Its colleagues work globally, connected by a unique culture of integrity and compassion. Together, they help their clients bring evidence-based treatments to patients in areas of unmet medical need.

More information

For more information on this lecture, please contact events@gtc.ox.ac.uk.

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Type: Lectures and Seminars