Government Office for Science

Government Office for Science
Legal status Government agency
Purpose Government advisory for science policy
Region served
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Sir Mark Walport
Affiliations Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Government Office for Science [1] is part of the British government. This organisation advises the UK Government on policy and decision-making based on robust scientific evidence and long-term thinking. It is led by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA), Sir Mark Walport who reports to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The office is based in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills where it works with other parts of the Department, including the Science and Research Group, which funds research through Research Councils and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.


The Government Office for Science works collaboratively, using formal and informal networks, including colleagues in other departments and external experts. Together, they create and promote guidance and frameworks describing how departments can use the natural and social sciences, engineering and medicine to provide a sound evidence base for making policy. The guidance and frameworks encourage and support departments’ use and management of science, as well as challenging them to match best practice across Government and (where appropriate) outside.


Government departments each have their own Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), and CSAs work together on cross-cutting issues. In some cases the GCSA leads in advising the Government on major cross-cutting issues, working with other CSAs. In doing so he engages the best scientists nationally and often internationally to help him and ensure that his advice is as robust as possible.

Main Networks


Much of the Government Office for Science's work looks to the future, focusing on what science and the evidence base can tell us about how the world could develop and what effects potential interventions might have. The Foresight program [2] and its Horizon Scanning Center enable the Government to plan for the long term by providing a view of potential futures under a variety of conditions. Foresight projects address broad policy areas with a strong scientific component such as flooding and infectious diseases, whereas the Horizon Scanning Center conducts smaller projects across the full policy spectrum and increases the Government’s capability to think about the future systematically. Much of the value of Foresight comes from connecting experts from diverse disciplines and organisations with each other and with policymakers, and facilitating their collaboration to produce credible yet challenging visions of the future.

Foresight Projects

Foresight projects [3] are in-depth and long term studies looking at major issues. Examples are:


  1. "Government Office for Science". Government Office for Science. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  2. "Foresight". Government Office for Science. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  3. "Foresight Projects". Government Office for Science. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.

External links

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