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Science and Policy Making: towards a new dialogue


A two-day conference will take place in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday 29th and Friday 30th September 2016. Jointly organised by the European Commission and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), the conference will bring together users and providers of scientific advice on critical, global issues. Policy-makers, leading practitioners and scholars in the field of science advice to governments, as well as other stakeholders, will explore principles and practices in a variety of current and challenging policy contexts.

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29 September 2016 Day 1

Charlemagne building

Rue de la Loi 170, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium
08:15-09:00 Registration and coffee
09:00-09:40 Opening Session
Plenary session I:
Deepening the dialogue

Deepening the dialogue

  • The interaction of science and policy making in a changing world: how can politics and policy better utilise the resources of science in the digital age
  • What do scientists and policy makers need to do differently to ensure a more effective use of scientific evidence in policy?
  • What do scientists need to know about the world of policy makers and vice versa?
5 speakers + discussion
10:50-11:20 Coffee break
Plenary session II:
Solution-oriented scientific advice

Solution-oriented scientific advice

How to provide policy makers with interdisciplinary, solution-oriented advice in practice:

  • Integrating natural, social and behavioural sciences into policy advice
  • The interaction between science and decision making
  • Applying science in times of social transformation
  • Opportunities and challenges for science advice in the age of big data
  • Social license for science advice: How to build institutional legitimacy
4 speakers + discussion
12:30-13:30 Lunch
Parallel session I:
Responding to global policy challenges

Responding to global policy challenges

There are an increasing number of global issues that require science advice. Can science advice help to address global issues requiring action at international level? What are the considerations for providing science advice in these contexts? What are the examples from which we can learn what works and what does not work in informing policy-making through science advice at the global level?

  • 1.1: Climate change: Science, policy & the road beyond Paris
  • 1.2: Migration: Evidence-informed responses to humanitarian crises
  • 1.3: Health: Science advice in short- and long-term challenges – from epidemics to chronic diseases
3 speakers in each session + Q&A + discussion
14:45-15:15 Coffee break
Parallel session II:
Brokers and boundary-crossers: Developing the practice of science advice

Brokers and boundary-crossers: Developing the practice of science advice

The practice of science advice to public policy requires a new set of skills that are neither strictly scientific nor policy-oriented, but a hybrid of both. Negotiating the interface between science and policy requires translational and navigational skills that are often not acquired through formal training and education and which may differ in different parts of the world. In addition, new techniques are being developed, e.g. in foresight and horizon scanning, which may increase the impact of science on policy. What are the considerations in developing these unique capacities, both in general and for particular contexts?

  • 2.1: What is required to build capacity for science advice in developing countries?
  • 2.2: What skills do experts and policymakers need for better dialogue?
  • 2.3: How can foresight and horizon scanning better inform policy agendas?
3 speakers in each session + Q&A + discussion
16:30-16:45 Break
Plenary session III:
Scientific advice for transnational structures

Scientific advice for transnational structures

Policy makers throughout the world are increasingly facing the need to address issues that cannot be tackled at national level, but need transnational approaches. Thus policies are increasingly being developed directly at the level of supranational organizations such as the EU or the UN, whose policy making processes need to build up their own advisory mechanisms. This session will present two examples of such science advice structures for supranational organisations: the new Scientific Advice Mechanism of the European Commission and the Science Advisory Board to the UN Secretary-General.
2 speakers + discussion

17:30-18:30 Plenary session IV:
Taking stock (summaries & discussion of parallel sessions)
18:30-18:45 Wrap-up and conclusions of first day
18:45-19:00 2016 Recognition of Lifetime Achievements
for Science & Society
19:00 Evening Reception

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