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Science in government

Our policymaking is informed by science research from a number of sources.

Scientific advisers

Our primary source of science and engineering advice is our Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland (CSA) Professor Sheila Rowan.

We created the position in 2006 and its main functions are:

  • to provide independent science advice to inform our work across all policy areas
  • to champion the use of evidence to inform policy development and delivery
  • to act as an advocate, inside and outside government, for Scotland's research base

The CSA is a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council, a panel of experts that provide us and the CSA with advice, usually on a medium to long-term basis. The CSA Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment and the Chief Scientist (Health) are also members.

Chief Scientist Office (CSO)

The Chief Scientist Office (CSO) sits within the Health and Social Care Directorates. It provides funding to support and encourage research to improve the health of people in Scotland, and the services provided by the NHS.

The majority of the CSO budget is used to support research in the NHS through NHS Research Scotland (NRS).

The Office of the Chief Medical Officer provides us with science advice pertaining specifically to health and medicine.

Funding is focused on research that has the potential to benefit patients or improve NHS services, in line with our health and social care research strategy.

In addition to supporting NHS Research Scotland, the CSO is responsible for:

  • funding high-quality research projects
  • building capacity for research in the NHS
  • ensuring research in the NHS is carried out to high standards