Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Response to the Office of Science and Innovation’s Review of Science in the Home Office

1. The Academy of Medical Sciences welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the
Office of Science and Innovation’s ‘Review of Science in the Home Office’ and
would be happy to expand on the points made in this submission or provide
further assistance if required. This response has been informed by the
Academy’s recent meeting on ‘The Science of Violence’, the recent report of the
working group chaired by Sir David Weatherall on the use of non-human
primates in research, the continuing deliberations of the Academy’s committees
on Brain Sciences, Drugs and Addiction, the work of its Non-Experimental
methods committee and the Academy’s report ‘Calling Time’. 1 2 3 Copies of the
‘Science of Violence’ meeting report and the Weatherall report are enclosed
with this response.
2. The Academy’s response comes from the perspective of the medical sciences
and it recognises that some of the topics encompassed by this consultation are
beyond its remit. With regard to the terms of reference of the Review, this
response is principally concerned with: science strategy, horizon scanning, the
extent to which the Home Office reviews and harnesses existing research,
commissioning and management of new science, the quality and relevance of
Home Office research, the use of science to formulate policy, the management
of relevant evidence and Home Office research capacity and capacity building.
3. In summary, the Academy supports the strategic aim of the Home Offices’
Science and Innovation Strategy to provide high quality science that is fit for
clearly defined purposes and to positively encourage the external science and
technology community to help drive innovation.4 While much of the Home
Office’s strategy focuses on the social and physical sciences, medical science
has much to offer. The Academy particularly wishes to emphasise the need to:
· Implement the recommendations of the Davidson Review in order to
reduce the regulatory burden associated with the use of animals in
scientific procedures while maintaining the highest standards of animal
· Implement relevant recommendations from the Weatherall report.
· Improve the quality and quantity of applied research conducted by the
Home Office by establishing a dedicated fund for research into services,
increasing the use of randomised and other controlled types of research
methodology and establishing a field trials unit.

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