Science plays an important role in every aspect of our lives, so scientists should be available to the people all the time, says Sir Patrick Vallance.
Britain’s civil service is struggling to improve its scientific talent in order to compete with nations such as China. Each country has its own strengths and weaknesses says chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.
Vallance also said that the scarcity of researchers and engineers in the government may bring a lot of problems to the nations when it comes to dealing with the problems relating to national security, climate change, and an aging population in a rare interview.
Vallance wants to fix one thing in his tenure i.e., he would like to include all the science and engineering graduates into the civil service.
Vallance found that there is a lot of weight to the people who have completed their graduation in the streams of arts, economics, and humanities. To be precise, the individuals who were trained in science and engineering belongs to a distinct minority.
The government also encourages the individuals to become senior civil servants, by considering the civil service fast stream scheme, said Sir Patrick Vallance. If you look at the statistics in the years between 2017-18, only 40 young people had degrees in science and engineering out of 400 who were accepted in the civil service fast stream scheme. They didn’t expect this and they want to increase this number from 40 to 200. It will be difficult to deal with the issues of the 21st century if the brightest young people are unable to achieve degrees in science and engineering and it will have a huge impact on the government.
If you compare the Britain Government with the Chinese Government, you will go for china as the government is filled with the people who are able to understand science and technology and that is where Britain needs to improve. So, it is vital to correct things.
Sir Patrick Vallance decision to increase the number of researchers in the government was also published in a recent report Realizing our ambition through science by his office. In addition to this, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings published a blog earlier this month saying dismissing the individuals who graduated from Oxford and Cambridge with English degrees as potentially useful civil servants and instead pressed the case enlisting young mathematicians, physicists and data analysts. By reading the Dominic cummings blog, Vallance said that what Dominic cummings is trying to say that more scientists and engineers should involve in the civil service, and I am totally agreeing with the Dominic Cummings.
Sir Patrick Vallance was a Professor at the University College of London in the Department of Medicine, and an expert on diseases of blood vessels before becoming the Government’s Chief adviser. In the years 2012-2017, he served as a president of research and development at GlaxoSmithKline.
In order to convey the importance of scientists and engineers in government, Vallance pointed to decisions that need to be made about national infrastructure in order to meet the requirements of Britain’s pledge to be a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2050.
We all need scientists and engineers in the future as we have to design carbon-free transport systems in cities, and also at the same time we have the responsibility to remove the domestic heating from the gas grid, and also we need to find ways to understand the reams of data that will be produced by the programs and use that data to identify and improve the workforce, future actions in order to combat climate change. In order to get these things done, we will need scientists and engineers.
Scientists are not involving in the government departments when they are supposed to. The presence of a scientist and taking their ideas into consideration while making an important policy decision will prevent the threats. Also, the government officials are taking the decisions on their own without taking the inputs from scientists and it is happening due to the government officials’ thought that it’s not a scientific issue. “Science plays an important role in every aspect of our lives, so scientists should be available at the table all the time”, said Sir Patrick Vallance.
The Departments which are taking important policy decisions without having a chat with the scientific officials are housing, Home office, local government, rural affairs, environment, and farming. All departments have to increase their science budget as we have seen a significant reduction in their science budgets in recent years.
Whereas, Vallance also puts a strong note that, he was not arguing that science alone can clear all the problems that lie ahead. Our government should focus on all types of talent. Science is seriously underrated now and we need to be put right. The important point that needs to consider is that we need to identify the problem quickly and should show a lot of enthusiasm to get it fixed.