One of the things I set out to achieve when I took on the role as Head of Profession, was to put science at the heart of government. The meteoric rise in demand for science that is happening as a result of COVID-19 is certainly not how I anticipated this happening, but nevertheless, our work has been thrust into the limelight. I am impressed and pleased that during these challenging times, across many different departments the GSE profession is successfully delivering unprecedented levels of high-quality science advice to inform government decision-making. This is a great achievement and I want to thank you all for your crucial contributions, without which we would never have been able to rise to the challenge.
I know that many of you have volunteered to be re-deployed onto the COVID-19 response. I want to make it clear that your professionalism, flexibility and enthusiasm does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Among the many things we have been able to achieve as a result of your efforts, we have successfully built up a larger team to support the work of the Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which provides government with the critical science advice it needs during this testing time.
But the GSE community amounts to far more than our COVID-19 response work. I know there are also many of you who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver other critical work that involves science and engineering, which has been all the more challenging whilst so much of government is focused on COVID-19. What you are doing is also vital for the future, and is enabling us to keep pace with our delivery on everything from the future R&D needs of government through to emerging technologies, even whilst so many are tackling this pandemic. It is these efforts that will see us emerge from this crisis resilient and prepared for the future, and I want to thank you for your continued support.
When we emerge from this crisis, I’m sure many of you may be wondering whether science advice will continue to be seen as a crucial component in the government’s decision-making. At a recent meeting of department Chief Scientific Advisers we discussed that we are more committed than ever to raising and maintaining the profile of the Government Science and Engineering profession and the vital role it plays by continuing to strengthen our science advice systems now and in the years to come. And I make that same commitment to you across all of GSE.
As we all continue to observe social distancing and work from home, it is more important than ever for us to draw together as a community and network. I want you to share and highlight your experiences and celebrate your achievements across our community and the wider Civil Service. Please do submit a short blog on how you have contributed to the COVID-19 response, or important ongoing science issues in your department, as well as how your department has drawn on science and engineering expertise to support the government’s work.
I am proud to be a part of a unique, talented and effective GSE profession. You have worked calmly and tirelessly throughout an incredibly unsettling time. With your support and assistance during these most challenging of times, we will overcome one of the greatest threats that we have seen together. Thank you for all that you do.
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