Some great quotes in this report:
Interviewer: "I’m wondering, what does the public bring to policy?"
Jolanta Opacka-Juffry: "Well, the public brings a vision of a bigger picture. The public, as I understand it, sees the landscape maybe without the details on it. Details are below their resolution level but they see the bigger landscape. Whereas the research community very often sees the details very sharply, has a focus on the details and often forgets about the landscape. That’s how I see it and that’s why public input is needed to keep that large landscape in mind."
Interviewer: "Does it improve the science?"
David Porteous: "I think it improves the science in the sense that it adjusts the focus of the science. … So that has unquestionably been the case in our Generation of Scotland population study where we involved ourselves in a series of public engagements and MORI polls and questionnaires and set ourselves up to be questioned and queried about the whole idea and to tease out all of the possible ethical issues. And that certainly informed the study design … our sort of fundamental approaches and context. … We’re absolutely convinced that the project is stronger and better for having done that serious public engagement early on in the process.
And not as a sop to funders or to the publics but as a fundamental component part, and that was something I was very firmly of the opinion should be built in right at the beginning."
Stephen Gentleman: "They do tend to bring some scientists down to earth, to a more basic level, where they may have got a little bit esoteric and blue sky, and they bring it right back down to earth like what’s this going to do for my husband, etc. … I think the lay voice is the voice of reason in some ways. I mean you can get carried away with your own research and not be able to apply it to the real world particularly. … Actually it really helps when you go back to the lab and realise there’s a real reason for doing this that may not always be apparent
when you’re just stuck in the lab."
Thanks to @Roland_Jackson for finding these
Full report here: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/20016/1/ScoPE_report_-_09_10_09_FINAL.pdf ;