The second the series of Science & Innovation dialogues, ‘How to Communicate Data in a Pandemic’, proved how the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted what is needed in order for science and data communication to be effective and transparent. The introduction was provided by Prof Carole Mundell, Chief International Science Envoy of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, followed by keynote speaker Prof David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge and then other panelists.
The word “data” has taken on new meaning in the UK. The Government has said that the latest easing out of lockdown will proceed by “data, not dates” and the phrase has become something of a mantra. Yet data hardly got a look in on the public discourse before the pandemic. Now, a daily look at “the numbers” is a habit. Everyone is hungry for a barometer by which to gauge the impact of measures to control infection.
Exactly how such data are collated, digested and presented to the public gets less attention. Yet grappling with pandemic data is a problem for all nations. And this became clear from the lively discussion at the Dialogue event ‘How to Communicate Data in a Pandemic’ in February. [Wednesday 24 February]. This was the second in a three-part series of Science and Innovation Dialogues, convened by the British Council and the UK Science and Innovation Network. Its overriding message was just how much can be gained if countries take time to listen to each other, no matter how distinct their cultures.
The recording of the event is available here, while the summary by the moderator Susan Watts and the presentation shared by the keynote spaker Prof David Spielhalter are available below.
Other panelists included Assoc Prof Florina Bojin, Professor, Department of Functional Sciences – Immunology, "Victor Babes" University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara; OncoGen - Center for Gene and Cellular Therapies in the Treatment of Cancer (Romania), Prof Andrzej Fal, President, Polish Society of Public Health; Dean, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (Poland), Assoc Prof Ivan Ivanov, Professor, National Center of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, National Reference Laboratory for control and monitoring of antibiotic resistance (Bulgaria), Prof Gkikas Magiorkinis, Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; National Covid-19 Committee of Experts (Greece) and Prof Maja Pohar Perme, Head, Institute for Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia).