Joint Research Centre - European Commission

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Participants of the Trans-Atlantic Science for Policy workshop.

Participants of the Trans-Atlantic Science for Policy workshop. (Click to enlarge)

High-level American and European delegations meet at JRC Ispra at science for policy workshop


The Trans-Atlantic Science for Policy Workshop at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra brought together a unique group of 22 individuals with pertinent experiences of real-life scientific support to policy-making. These parliamentarians, science advisers, heads of European and international organisations, leaders of science foundations and academies, plus senior NGO representatives and CEOs from industry, represent all aspects of science-policy interaction from conception and development to implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The Workshop initiative succeeded in allowing this group to take a step back to debate with and to learn from each other and, most importantly, to identify best practices and pitfalls on both sides of the Atlantic. Participants appreciated the emphasis on looking at things from new and unexpected angles, while reaching firm conclusions about the challenge of "evidence-based policy versus policy-biased evidence".

Next steps will be for the JRC and AAAS to finalise a list of recommendations on behalf of all participants to be used accordingly within their own organisations and networks on both sides of the Atlantic.

The day before the workshop, Dr. Norman P. Neureiter, Director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology & Security Policy gave a special lecture on "The challenge of providing science advice to Governments". And to commemorate the occasion, a coast redwood tree was planted on the JRC Ispra site.

Participants took the chance to visit some of the Joint Research Centre's unique laboratories, including the Vehicle Emissions Laboratory (JRC-IES), the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (JRC-IPSC), and Systems Toxicology and Nanobiosciences at the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (JRC-IHCP).

A smaller follow-up meeting is planned to take place at the AAAS Annual Meeting in February 2010 in San Diego where the JRC and AAAS aim to take the debate further. Based on inputs from the Workshop, a high-level panel to include Alan Leshner, Roland Schenkel and British and Irish Chief Science Advisors, John Beddington and Patrick Cunningham, will also present a session on "science-based policy versus policy-biased evidence" at the EuroScience Open Forum meeting in Turin in July 2010.