The role of scientific advice in policy-making worldwide is growing
A call for integrity, openness, clarity and public engagement
The JRC and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have issued a call to scientists and policy-makers for integrity, openness, clarity and public engagement. Representatives from both organisations made the plea on 3 July at a session of Euroscience Open Forum 2010 in Turin, Italy. The recommendations reflect the findings of a workshop last fall at the JRC’s Ispra site where 21 high-profile science and technology leaders gathered to discuss the use and misuse of science in policy-making. The specialists, each with pertinent experience in real-life scientific support to policy-making, offered advice on best practices and pitfalls in science policy on both sides of the Atlantic.
The role of scientific advice in policy-making worldwide is growing. Recent episodes, such as the volcanic ash crisis in Europe or the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are prominent examples in the public eye. Yet, daily legislative decisions about the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the energy or means of transport we use, are a constant battle-ground between what a summary report on the Ispra workshop calls “evidence-based policy versus policy-biased evidence.” Policy-makers want to know the facts and to receive independent advice. Faced with claims and counter claims from interest groups, however, this is not always obvious.
The summary report of the 27 October 2009 workshop was released at the ESOF2010 meeting by Alan I. Leshner, the Chief Executive Officer of AAAS; Roland Schenkel, the JRC Director-General and Patrick Cunningham, the Irish Chief Scientific Adviser.