Science under scrutiny

June 23, 2000

(Photograph) - The public understanding of science will be a central issue tackled by the government's forthcoming science white paper.

Scientists will be encouraged to take up the public debate on science's role in society as well as to explain their research. This follows recent bouts of public anxiety and distrust over issues such as the safety of genetically modified food.

Science minister Lord Sainsbury (pictured) said the government would also seek measures to maintain the excellence of the science base and encourage innovation.

He was speaking at Friday's launch of the Science Council, the body set up to replace the Council of Science and Technology Institutes as professional representatives of more than 100,000 scientists in the UK.

"Scientists cannot stand aside from the debates of society and expect the public to applaud their work," he said.

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