On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe discusses the importance of uncertainty and failure. The former head of the European Research Council Helga Nowotny argues research is fed by uncertainty and that any form of scientific inquiry may produce results that are ambiguous. She criticises policy makers for focusing on easy short-term solutions, but the former conservative MP and Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, understands the difficulty for governments in dealing with uncertainty. In his role at the think tank Resolution Foundation he's attempting to use analytical research to improve policy on living standards. Matthew Syed examines how a positive attitude to failure can lead to success in areas as diverse as sport, business, politics and healthcare. The failure of governments to come to an agreement on climate change will be discussed next month at a UN conference in Paris and Oliver Morton looks at whether the radical, yet uncertain, strategies of geo-engineering are the answer.
Producer: Katy Hickman.