Astrobiology
29th June 2017

Nature and Human Nature: The Digital Media Conversation on Science and Society

The search for biological life in the cosmos has long been a preoccupation of humankind and is now an established multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation under the name of astrobiology. In September 2015, with funding from the NASA Astrobiology Program, the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton (CTI) embarked on a series of cross-disciplinary conversations between the sciences and humanities on the cultural impact of this search on society.

CTI is an independent institution for advanced research on global concerns. It convenes scholars in the humanities and theologians in projects that consider the implications of science, not only for religion but also for society. Astrobiology is at the heart of the discourse.

We live at a time when the existence of life elsewhere seems increasingly likely. Science fiction moves ever closer to becoming science fact. In the United States, NASA continues to be at the forefront of this research and will play a central role in our June conversation.

Inevitably, much of the media response to this area of research is rich in sensationalism but poor in reasoned, cross-disciplinary analysis. Yet all the while scientists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences have been holding a different conversation on science and society, a much more nuanced, thoughtful and creative conversation. It is this conversation that we wished to develop in June and considered what might be the role of digital media in making this discourse more widely accessible.

Civic Engagement & Digital Technology
26th June 2017

Civic engagement: How can digital technology encourage greater engagement in Civic Society

The final consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2017 Thought Leadership Programme in partnership with Rand Europe.

The need for a stronger, more effective understanding of a good citizenship within a connected society was a key theme to emerge from our 2016 Thought Leadership programme. This final event in the 2017 series developed on this theme, and considered how digital technology might be used to strengthen local communities and engage citizens of all ages more generally in our democracy.

With rising disenchantment with main stream political parties, lower voter participation, the rise in support for populist (challenger) political parties, and a general shift in attitudes away from traditional institutions of authority, there is a need to revisit how we can better engage citizens of all ages and backgrounds in civic society, and to support greater participation in our democratic processes at a national as well as local level.

The full Consultation report can be read here. The 2017 Thought Leadership Programme key findings summary can be read here.

Currency
5th May 2017

Currency: redefining the way we transact in a digital world

The third consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2017 Thought Leadership Programme in partnership with Rand Europe.

As new forms of currency become established there will be opportunities, but also strategic challenges and changes in perceptions within society that need to be considered, specifically around issues of trust, integrity, and most importantly economic control and regulation.

This consultation considered the future possibilities for currency in a more digitally connected society, and specifically considered whether crypto-currencies and data will become established as currencies of preference. The discussions also considered the strategic opportunities and challenges that such an emergence will create for society and inclusion.
The full report from the consultation can be read here. The 2017 Thought Leadership Programme key summary report can be read here.
Open Science
5th April 2017

Open Science: the citizen’s role and contribution to research

The second consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2017 Thought Leadership Programme in partnership with Rand Europe.

Open Science, as a movement, aims to make scientific research, data and the dissemination of findings more accessible to everyone in society, with citizen science forming one dimension of this movement, focusing more specifically on the input from members of the public to research activities.

Many citizen science projects involve the public undertaking research and analysing data, with the role of the citizen being to provide additional capacity for the collection and/or review of large volumes of data. These initiatives have been undertaken across multiple disciplines, including ecology, zoology, urban planning, astronomy and physics, arts and humanities, environment and climate, and medicine.

The aim of this event was to consider the future vision for citizen science in a more connected society, and how this vision should evolve. We explored the opportunities and challenges that are involved in engaging the public directly in scientific research, and the role which digital technology can play in addressing such issues and further incentivising participation.

The full report from the consultation can be read here. The 2017 Thought Leadership Programme key summary report can be read here.

Digital technology’s role in enabling skills development
5th March 2017

Education: Digital technology’s role in enabling skills development for a connected world

The first consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2017 Thought Leadership Programme in partnership with Rand Europe.

Digital technology is disrupting traditional models of education and skills attainment and is increasingly being used to deliver education, knowledge and skills in new and innovative ways. Coupled with future changes to the mode and pattern of work (as identified in our 2016 Thought Leadership programme), and the economic shock posed by the current political climate, there is a need to consider how digital technology can best support individuals to develop the skills needed to attain maximum benefit for both work and social uses.

This can also help to create societal norms when using digital technology and ensure appropriate behaviour online.

The overarching aim was to generate breakthrough thinking by using a mixture of robust debate, careful listening and a willingness to consider different perspectives.

The Consultation aimed to explore the following key questions and areas:

  • How can digital delivery channels help ensure equality of access and inclusivity to skills and education?
  • Can we define a new, more sustainable, model for delivery of education and skills in a more connected world?
  • In an increasingly digital world, how can an ageing population acquire the digital skills necessary to transact in a more connected society?
  • How do we build capacity within the education system to maximise the impact of digital technology?
  • Who should be involved in the design and delivery of digital skills and education?
  • What should be the role of digital technology in terms of supporting a new skills agenda for economic growth in the current climate?

The full report from the consultation can be read here. The 2017 Thought Leadership Programme key summary report can be read here.

15th June 2016

Trust and Ethics: How do we build trust in the digital society?

In partnership with Corsham Institute

The final consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2016 Thought Leadership Programme

As more and more aspects of our day-to-day lives move towards digitally enabled modes of delivery, the need for citizens to feel confident that when they participate, and in the broadest sense transact, digitally that they can do so with confidence through a better understanding of what personal data is being provided to third parties as part of a digital footprint. 

As digital transactions becomes a greater feature of every aspect of daily life we need to ask a critical question in terms of how prepared is society to handle this new mode of interaction.

For this reason, we set the following overarching question for this consultation:

How do we better equip society to understand the benefits and consequences of transacting in a digital world?

The full report can be read here. Further information on these themes and the overall findings from the Programme is available in our Key Findings Report.

17th May 2016

Digital Living: Getting the most out of digital society

In partnership with Corsham Institute

The third consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2016 Thought Leadership Programme

The digital world is less than 25 years old, however, it has already demonstrated clear economic and social benefits. In the UK we have seen the ‘Smart Cities’ initiative focus on the development of digital infrastructure in our main population centres and the meshing together of digital and analogue infrastructure. 

To date, however, the focus has been on infrastructure rather than how digital technologies can benefit the lives of individual citizens. By considering ‘smarter living’ and the ways in which digital can support more effective day-to-day elements of our lives in terms of work, home and community, this event aimed to explore how we can all benefit from the advantages that digital technologies can deliver.

The full report can be read here. Further information on these themes and the overall findings from the Programme is available in our Key Findings Report.

15th April 2016

Cyber and Security

Digital’s role in re-gaining resilience in a more uncertain world

In partnership with the Corsham Institute

The second consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2016 Thought Leadership Programme

Building greater resilience is seen by many as one of the greatest challenges facing modern society.  We live in a more digitally connected and yet more uncertain and potentially less secure world. Digital technologies are disrupting the traditional methods of interaction, and citizens need to feel confident in their use digital technologies if the goals of economic growth and social progress are to be achieved.

 The ‘rules of the game’ are being re-defined, as we interact differently, and become increasingly dependent on digital technologies for everyday aspects of our lives.  If we are to gain the most from a digitally enhanced way of life, society needs to adapt, so that we are better prepared to address possible disruptive threats, and balance the convenience of more digitally enabled society against the cyber risks which are emerging.

The aim of the consultation was to consider what ‘resilience’ means in a more digitally connected and enabled world, with the view of exploring how society can re-gain a stronger sense of security and resilience in what has become a more uncertain environment, so that citizens can feel confident in their use of digital services, supporting demand and uptake.

The full report can be read here. Further information on these themes and the overall findings from the Programme is available in our Key Findings Report.

7th March 2016

Digital Health: the way forward for health and care?

In partnership with Corsham Institute

The first consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2016 Thought Leadership Programme

Digital Health is considered by many as the next critical development in health and care, and an imperative if we are to have a health and care system that is capable of meeting rising demand at a time of increasingly scarce resources.  The consultation therefore had the following objective:

How we can help people to have a better quality of life by maximising the potential of digital health in their health and care?

During the consultation this was explored by considering:

  • The imperative for adopting digital health and care solutions, and whether this is sufficiently defined or needs refinement?
  • The benefits which can be achieved through digital health and care, and the potential barriers which might prevent adoption
  • The cultural, financial and regulatory requirements needed to create a positive environment for the adoption of digital health and care solutions
  • An agenda for action and change which will support the change required.

The full report can be read here. Further information on these themes and the overall findings from the Programme is available in our Key Findings Report.

An image of various people thinking about technology
19th January 2016

Local Leadership in a Cyber Society: Towards a model for civic cyber resilience

In partnership with iNetwork and the Department for Communities and Local Government

Technical advances create opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness. These include more engaging and efficient digital services, new ways to work remotely and to store and transfer data, such as mobile devices and cloud services. However, these also present more opportunities for cyber-attacks.

Across the country local civic and public service organisations are working hard to reduce these threats every day and the active support and engagement of their senior leaders is vital to ensuring the continued focus and profile of this work. In the face of these challenges the opportunity to look at the issue, the role local leadership in a cyber-society and to develop a common understanding of what constitutes civic cyber resilience has never been more important and what the consultation aimed to do.

 

The full report can be read here.

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