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Evidence Week has been held annually in Westminster since 2018, and brings together researchers, community groups and parliamentarians to share ideas about research and policy.

Parliament functions to debate issues that concern us all, to make and to improve legislation. MPs have challenging and varied responsibilities; their work can move from discussing the impact of housing policies in their constituencies to debating extended cancer screening programmes.

We believe that MPs don’t need a scientific background to understand the evidence that underpins these vital policy decisions. Evidence Week is an opportunity for the public, parliamentarians, and researchers to come together to share knowledge and insights that will help politicians scrutinise evidence.

Sense about Science is excited to introduce you to the format of Evidence Week in Westminster 2021 running from Monday 1 November to Friday 5 November 2021. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event will be held as a hybrid format, incorporating the experiences and successes of last year’s online event, alongside our experience with running in-person Evidence Week.

The event will consist of three main parts:

  • Opening event (online)
  • Briefing and meetings with Evidence Week partners (online and in person)
  • Webinars for parliamentarians and training for parliamentary staff (online)

Opening Event

The opening event will be held online on Monday 1 November, hosted on zoom. The format will be very similar to the successful opening event last year, where constituents and community groups will be bringing their questions to MPs and committee chairs on how parliament is using or scrutinising evidence on subjects that matter to them. MPs and experts will respond, with additional comments from information providers and analysts. Some of these questions will originate from our newly developed discussion board, where anyone can #AskAnMP by submitting a question, here. Visitors to the site can ask questions, and we will present a cross section of these to relevant panels and parliamentarians.

This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together MPs, researchers and constituents, engaging with cutting edge research on policy decisions that the general public have questions about. The aim is to ask parliamentarians how well equipped they are to understand and use scientific information. This will fit within the greater themes of Evidence Week which will continue through the week.

Evidence Week partner briefs and meetings

We will be hosting a series of virtual and in person 3-minute speed briefings from our research partners, covering topics from Net Zero to Health to Data and AI. This will be run as an in person event in Westminster, room TBC on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 November, with pods set up as a live exhibition which MPs, peers and parliamentary staff can attend and discuss the evidence and briefings presented. MPs and parliamentary staff will also be able to organise individual online meetings with the researchers to discuss in more detail their work and how evidence can be used in policy making decisions, throughout the entirety of the week.

Training for parliamentary staff

Friday 5th November – 1-3.30pm – Using scientific evidence, research data and resources to support your MP 

To reserve a place email: [email protected]

This online training session is created in partnership with ONS, Ipsos Mori and the Making Sense of Risk project. It will provide you with a crash course to scientific evidence and research data. The session will introduce you to the basics, and highlight where you can use these skills and resources in your work – whether it is assisting your Peer or MP in making policy changes, drafting a speech or responding to casework. There will also be an opportunity to put your questions to the experts.