EU Science Hub

Science and policy making – towards a new dialogue

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics speaking
Sep 29 2016

On 29-30 September the 2nd International Network for Government Science Advice Conference takes place in Brussels. Jointly organised by the European Commission and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), the conference explores principles and practices of scientific advice in a variety of current and challenging policy contexts.

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “Politicians around the world are confronted with a set of complex challenges such as migration and climate change, as well as the need to find fresh ways of tackling them, for instance through transnational structures. Sound scientific advice has a critical role in helping politicians understand the issues at stake and take informed, responsible policy decisions. Evidence is crucial to identify the problem, compare options and to evaluate what works. To make the most of scientific advice, researchers and politicians need to create a new dialogue to ensure they understand each other’s needs and perspectives better.”

Other keynote speakers included Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Sir Peter Gluckman, Chair of INGSA.

In a series of plenary sessions, the policy-makers, leading practitioners and scholars in the field of science advice to governments, as well as other stakeholders, are discusing the interaction of science and policy-making in a changing world and consider solution-oriented scientific advice, integrating natural, social and behavioural sciences. Scientific advice for transnational structures will be analysed using examples of the Commission’s Science Advice Mechanism and the Science Advisory Board to the UN Secretary-General. On the second day of the conference, the JRC Director General, Vladimir Šucha will present the JRC’s expertise in crisis and disaster management, including its dedicated Knowledge Centre, in a session on providing timely advice in emergencies.

Ahead of the conference, two side events co-organised by the JRC, INGSA and the Global Young Academy (GYA) took place. The first workshop looked into principles and guidelines for government scientific advice. A high-level group of around 40 practitioners and scholars, welcomed by Maive Rute, JRC Deputy Director General and Sir Peter Gluckman, Chair of INGSA, launched a process of developing a set of international principles and guidelines for scientific advice that will conclude in the spring of 2017. This project will be co-chaired by Dan Sarewitz, Arizona State University, USA, and James Wilsdon, University of Sheffield and INGSA vice-chair, UK.

The second workshop, involving the representatives of the Global Young Academy (GYA) JRC and EU Institutions focused discussions on broadening the scope of science advice and showcasing selected best practices for engaging knowledge-creators beyond the academy. The conclusions from the workshop will also feed into the INGSA process on principles and guidelines.