Eleanor Beal, writing at the Royal Society's In Verba blog reviews the debate at the University of Sussex earlier this week over what counts as good evidence for policy. It's an interesting report, and one bit in particular struck me as worthy of comment:
Should there be a separation between scientists and campaigners? Is such a separation possible? Richard Horton pointed out that for a public health researcher, not being an activist is the exception. However, Pielke pointed out that for climate science, experts being activists can actually lessen their credibility.
Perhaps this helps explain Sir Paul Nurse's keenness to take the Royal Society into the policy realm and the concerns some of have about the wisdom of such a move. Personally, I find the idea of public health researchers using my money to tell me how to behave no more welcome than anyone else doing so. I'm sure I'm not alone.