Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Controversy and debate can be productive parts of science, policy and practice, but they can also be paralysing, unsettling, and divisive. Tensions are common at the interface between science and policy, where value and ethical judgements play a central part. Value differences are further intensified on the frontline as health professionals and researchers struggle to resolve them in practice.  

New methodological and conceptual tools, capable of engaging with these vitally important value dimensions, are urgently needed to:

  • bring together diverse actors to map, understand and analyse the relationships between value disagreements in potential sites of science and policy controversy
  • co-produce shared outputs among scientists, ethics and humanities scholars, and groups outside science
  • enable real-time understanding, evaluation and evidence generation about the emergence and resolution of value controversies.

In the context of scientific disagreement, a promising recent methodological approach, ‘adversarial collaboration’, has been developed to bring scientists who disagree together to advance debates faster, and generate more reliable knowledge than traditional scientific approaches. Despite its attractions, adversarial collaboration has not been tested on problems where value and scientific disagreements are intertwined and where stakeholders are not pursuing academic outputs. 

This theme will take inspiration from Ralph Ellison’s independently developed concept of antagonistic cooperation, which emphasises the importance of inclusion and social justice, varieties of expertise, and the vital role of the arts and humanities to productive work across disagreement. We will develop and test a cluster of cross-disciplinary methods of adversarial cooperation for engaging with value differences in relationships between science, policy, and practice.