For Thought 2022

Collaboration in an uncertain world:
How science and innovation is shaping society’s response to complex challenges, from net zero to public health and the metaverse.

Thursday 1 December, One Moorgate Place
In-person, one-day event in London

In 2022, For Thought attendees discussed how science and technology are shaping responses to global challenges, from net zero, to public health, and the metaverse.

With leaders across sectors still reeling from the seismic events of the past two years, the road ahead promises to be no less testing.

There is an urgent need to set out a clear path to net zero; learn the lessons of COVID-19 to advance public health; and build trust within communities, between states and across generations to ensure that technological advancements do not leave people behind.

The war in Ukraine and global cost of living crisis have created an increasingly complex landscape. This instability is affecting collaboration, funding and progress. Yet we have seen glimmers of hope in multinational, cross-sector collaborations in the face of events that have rocked society. In this, the role of science and innovation – and its relationship with industry, policy and diplomacy – has never been so important.

Scroll down for the speakers from 2022.

Read the highlights from the discussions on the BSA’s website (opens in new tab)


Good boards are able to tell a story & create a vision

In Chapter 1, we explored how businesses can come up solutions for driving transparent and measurable progress towards net zero.

Our speakers put forward their thoughts on how business, government and other bodies can be convinced to ‘do the right thing’ for the environment.

Speakers: Devyani Vaishampayan (CEO at the HR Tech Partnership), Evie Aspinall, (Senior Researcher at the British Foreign Policy Group) and Jane Burston, Executive Director at the Clean Air Fund.

Scientists change their minds. How do we communicate this without losing trust?

In Chapter 2, attendees heard about research integrity, and the public trust in the scientific process.

Speakers: Rosa Furneaux (Health Investigative Reporter at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism), Andrew George (co-Chair of the Committee on Research Integrity), Ritu Dhand (Chief Scientific Officer at Springer Nature) and Professor Dame Anne Johnson (President of the Academy of Medical Science).

Opportunities for Ukrainian scientists & researchers, but not if they're men

We invited Dr Alina Nychuk, a Ukrainian researcher, to share her insights on the Russian invasion of her home country, and the catastrophic impact on science and academia. Despite the devastation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Alina talks about opportunities that have arisen as a result, namely #ScienceforUkraine and Ukraine Global Universities.

Speakers: Dr Alina Nychuk (Ukraine Fellow, RECET, The University of Vienna) and Sir David Lidington (Former Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster).

Our notion of privacy needs updating

In Chapter 3, we turned to the new online environment, looking at the current and potential future state of the metaverse, privacy, AI and other digital technologies.

Speakers: Nicola Millard (Principal Innovation Partner at BT), Baroness Beeban Kidron (campaigner and Chair of 5 Rights) and Jamie Susskind (barrister & author of The Digital Republic).