Bayes Centre

Making Science Relevant to Policy and Decision-making

This online credit-bearing course will provide a practical guide to implementing policy-led science for decision-making, and will examine the benefits and potential drawbacks of following such an approach in the public, private and charitable sectors.

Course Summary

Science is often used to support decisions that have profound economic, social and environmental impacts. Good decision-making follows from having clear preferences for what is to be achieved (policy aims) and using science to evaluate potential means of reaching those aims (policy instruments). This "policy-led" decision-making is in contrast to often inefficient and ineffective "data-led" decision-making that attempts to infer the correct policy aims from scientific analysis. In other words, when making decisions, science should follow policy, not vice versa. This course will provide a practical guide to implementing policy-led science for decision-making, and will examine the benefits and potential drawbacks of following such an approach in the public, private and charitable sectors.  An emphasis on translating policy aims into tractable scientific questions is a particularly distinctive, and possibly unique, feature among the University's courses on science and policy.

Further information on the course can be found here:

Making Science Relevant to Policy and Decision-making

Course Delivery Information

Start Date: 17th January 2022
Course Duration: 10 weeks
Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 18, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 46, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 100 )
Method of Assessment: Coursework 100 %

This is an intermediate Masters-level course (SCQF Level 11). It develops your skills and/or provides a broad understanding of the subject in some detail - some foundational knowledge is required. Please see the entry requirements for further details. Masters-level courses are relatively intensive and require independent learning, critical thinking, analysis and reflection.

Entry Requirements

This course does not require any specific prior knowledge.  However, experience of, or interest in, using or producing scientific data to help make decisions would be beneficial.  Relevant organisations include, but are not limited to, the government and public sector, private companies and non-governmental organisations that need to find effective and efficient ways of supporting decision-making in a changing policy environment.

Applicants should be educated to degree level in a natural or social science or have at least a year in a job that requires acquiring scientific data to support decision-making, particularly in circumstances where decisions require judgement to select suitable options for achieving an organisation’s aims.

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English Language Requirements

You must be comfortable studying and learning in English if it is not your first language.

Course Fees and Funding

Course fees for 21/22 are £1,915 but funded places are available for people employed, unemployed or furloughed in Scotland who meet Scottish Funding Council elgibility criteria:

Determining eligibility for a funded place for upskilling takes a number of things into account, including fee status, but also location of employer. SFC provide guidance specifically for upskilling courses:

“Courses/provision is open to all Scottish-domiciled/’home fee’ students, which is consistent with SFC’s policy for core funded student places. Students from the rest of the UK (rUK) are not normally considered eligible for SFC funding. If however a university is working with a Scottish/UK employer which has a physical presence or operating in Scotland, rUK employees of that employer would be eligible.”

Organisations like UKCISA, and the University, provide guidance on how to determine your fee status:

If your fee status is Scotland Fee Rate, RUK Fee Rate, or EU-EEA Pre/Settled Scotland Fee rate, you may be eligible for a funded upskilling place. To determine this we will look at your fee status, residency information and, where relevant, details of your employer, to confirm whether the employer is based in, or has a significant presence, in Scotland.

Funding eligibility will be assessed at the point of each application for each course; you may be asked to provide further information if you do not meet the general residence conditions. Please email us at if you would like to discuss your funding eligibility before applying.

Please note that full-time students (including full-time PhD students) are not eligible for funding.


Apply Now

Applications for January 2022 are now open.

In order to verify that you meet the entry requirements for this course, you will be required to provide either:

  • a degree certificate/transcript for your highest/most relevant academic qualification, or
  • a CV and reference from an employer (if employed) or professional associate (if unemployed) outlining your suitability for the course

The degree certificate/transcript or CV should be emailed to within 24 hours of submitting your application. References should be emailed to the same address (from an institutional/company account if from your employer) within 1 week of submitting your application. 

Once complete, your application will be processed in 1-2 weeks. Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis with priority given to applicants who meet the criteria for a funded place. We aim to email all applicants within 2 weeks of submission regardless of the outcome of their application.


Applications will close on 4th January 2022