Symposium showcases breadth of FSA science

Behavioural insights into tackling food crime, the cost of illness and consumer attitudes to food-related issues were all discussed at the Food Standards Agency’s second-annual Symposium of Social Science.
15 November 2018

The series of events, held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during November, were part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science. More than 100 stakeholders from academia, other Government departments, business and NGOs heard about how social science directly informs real-life policy making in a government context.

Social science is a key pillar of the FSA’s analytics work, helping the agency to deliver our strategic objectives by ensuring that insight into what people throughout the food chain think, feel and do informs our risk assessment, risk management and communication.

The event held in London on 5 November featured a keynote address showing how an interventions model was used to improve hand hygiene in hospitals from Professor Susan Michie, the Chair of our Advisory Committee for Social Science.

This was followed by an event in Cardiff on 12 November. Following a keynote presentation from Dr Chris Bear of Cardiff University on the opportunities and challenges of edible insects in the UK, delegates were taken through a range of social science studies and asked to consider future opportunities for social science for the agency

The final event took place in Northern Ireland on 13 November. This event featured a keynote speech from Professor Moira Dean of Queens University Belfast about the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours about food ‘from farm to fork’. Findings from new research exploring consumers’ perceptions of reformulation were shared, as well as the development of social science techniques for open policy making.

This is the first time that we have run events in all three of the countries that we serve and is part of our plans to ensure that our social science has impact inside and outside the organisation, building our reputation for robust and innovative science and strong evidence.

All the presentations from the events are available to download.