We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
We live in an age when good policies are assumed to be evidence-based. And that evidential base is assumed to be at its best when expressed in numbers.
The digital information may be derived from quantitative data organised in statistics, or from qualitative data organised in indicators. Either way, evidence in digital form provides the accepted foundation of policy arguments over a very broad range of issues. In the policy realm there are frequent debates over particular policy issues and their associated evidence.
But only rarely is the nature of the evidence called into question. Such a faith in numbers can be dangerous. Policies in economic and financial policy, based on numbers whose significance was less than assumed, recently turned out to be quite disastrously wrong.
In this workshop we will review a seminal essay by Andrea Saltelli and Mario Giampietro, The Fallacy of Evidence Based Policy. That paper contains positive recommendations for the development of a responsible quantification. The conference will be devoted to the analysis and development of those ideas.