27–28 April 2022
in Brussels and online

Science advice
under pressure

Plenary panels

How close is too close? The complex role of a government science advisor

Science advice in times of crisis: the case of Covid

When science meets politics: the case of climate change

Keynote address

Workshops

Scaling up urban science advice in Europe: a view from practitioners

Discover best practices from city leaders and policymakers in a context where timely and direct science advice is needed, while sociopolitical processes are increasingly complex. Understand opportunities in cooperation on subnational science advice and push for greater EU-supported cooperation.

Organised by SciTech DiploHub

Discover how urban actors provide insights to the debate over science advice in an uncertain and fast-paced world. How do urban regions face the disjuncture between timely and complex science advice? ‘Scaling up urban science advice in Europe: a view from practitioners’ will present leading examples on urban science advice from Chief Science Officers from EU cities and regions, combining it with the experience and leadership from the EU Commission and EU city networks. The workshop aims at building on the experience of the EU’s City Science Initiative to share best practices, explore potential support programs and push for greater EU-wide cooperation. In addition to the speakers’ interactive discussion with fellow participants, the workshop will include a short activity that will conclude with policy recommendations on how the European Commission could best use the CSI and what further initiatives it could consider to scale up urban science advice across Europe.

Speakers: Alexis Roig (SciTech DiploHub); Caroline Nevejan (City of Amsterdam); Alessandro Rainoldi (Joint Research Centre)

Science, policy and research under pressure

Not only science must deliver fast, but so does policy in a society under pressure. An exploration of pressure pathways and ways to mutually deal with this pressure.

Organised by departments of the Flemish government (Chancellery & Foreign Office; Environment and Spatial Development; Economy, Science & Innovation) with the Young Academy of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts

In times of crisis or (media) pressure, society pressures policy to address societal challenges quickly and thoroughly. Policy therefore requires solid and clear evidence to create or at least back these solutions, equally quickly and thoroughly, hence putting pressure on research to provide this evidence. However, reality isn’t that linear. Starting from two case studies of Flemish policy – one regarding monitoring(-tools) for steering the recovery plan of the Flemish government, the other regarding enhancing the impact of science advice on policy – and one Finnish case study regarding  a science-policy interaction model for policy-drafting that builds on the idea of “red teaming”, attempting to cope with urgent needs for evidence to inform policymaking, we’ll try to shed light on how we can jointly tackle issues quickly and thoroughly without pressuring each other (too much).

Speakers: Peter De Smedt (Department Chancellery & Foreign Office, Flemish Government); Jaakko Kuosmanen (Finnish Academy of Science and Letters); Jacek Kolanowski (Young Academy of Poland); Moniek Tromp (Young Academies Science Advice Structure); Helena Bieseman and Fatma Kamas (Department of Environment & Spatial Development, Flemish Government)

Taking the heat off: What is science diplomacy’s role in times of urgency?

Science Diplomacy is a “new” policy tool for application in times of urgency. What can Science Diplomacy really achieve and can it help us anticipate advancements to create better futures? Come discuss policy, geopolitical, organizational, thematic and anticipatory angles with practitioners.

Organised by DLR-PT, European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance and InsSciDE

The recent pandemic and a myriad of global challenges have demonstrated the need for universal approaches and coordinated national remedies, and they have set science at centre stage of policy ecosystems. In this complex environment, science diplomacy has become a “new” old tool to tackle cross-border and cross-cutting challenges. With the “utility” of science diplomacy currently being discussed at different European and national policy levels, we propose a closer look at various Science Diplomacy arenas and approaches (science for diplomacy/in diplomacy/diplomacy for science) in the overall context of global urgency. Practitioners and scholars wise to geopolitical, organizational, thematic and other dimensions of Science Diplomacy will share their views on the interest paradoxes – ‘competition/openness’, ‘reciprocity/compromise’ and the value of anticipatory Science Diplomacy in times of increased pressure and scrutiny. The panellists will elaborate on opportunities and challenges, limitations and needs for improvement in Science Diplomacy approaches. Interaction between the panellists and participants will be facilitated by e.g. fish bowl techniques and SLIDO.

Speakers: Jan Marco Müller (EU External Action Service); Anna Åberg (InsSciDE); Angela Liberatore (ERC); Martin Müller (GESDA); Yuriy Kostyuchenko (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)
Moderators: Claire Mays (European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance); Stella Reschke (DLR-PT); Angela Schindler-Daniels (DLR-DE)

Description of workshop

Lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic: the roles of EU agencies

This workshop explores how EU scientific advisory actors can optimise their production of timely and relevant knowledge to EU policy makers in times of uncertainty and rapid change. In this situation, the current pandemic has challenged EU agencies and their stakeholders, providing scientific advice based on timely and robust evidence, to mutualise efforts, delivery and communication at both national and European levels.  What can we learn from the past years and how can it help shape the future of scientific advice by EU agencies, their partners and networks.

Organised by EU-ANSA


The findings from a survey carried out by the EU-ANSA members (agencies providing scientific advice) will be presented and discussed. The findings displayed a rapid response to the change in the external environment and adaptation of work programmes and working methods. It also displayed the added value of better coordination between agencies and host DGs, and interactions with countries.  The workshop will explore the main findings of the survey, providing concrete examples of science advice and its impact, and will engage the audience in finding a path forward for preparedness among agencies by seeking the experience of the audience as well as future expectations thereby strengthening science-policy interface and helping research to deliver actionable knowledge (having an impact).

Speakers: Milen Georgiev (EFSA); Mike Catchpole (ECDC); Guy Van den Eede (JRC); Ralf Herold (European Medicines Agency); Hanna Nohynek (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)
Moderators: Maria Jepsen (Eurofound)

Side events

Science advice at times of crisis: what roles for universities and academies?

online only • 25 April • 15:00–16:00 CEST

University and academy networks of expertise play a key role at the research-policy interface, but is their role really understood, recognised and sufficiently resourced? And what is their role at times of crisis?

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International Year of Science Engagement 2027: drop-in information session

in person (NH Bloom Brussels) • 26 April • 20:30–21:30 CEST

Wiebke Rössig, Director of the Science and Society Cluster at Falling Walls Foundation Berlin, and Whitney Buchanan, Head of the International Year of Science Engagement project, will introduce the initiative and ways to engage, co-create and support our goal: a UN International Year of Science Engagement in 2027. Please join us and discuss what the IYSE should entail, what it should focus on, and how we can collaborate to co-create a UN International Year for Science Engagement. No registration required.

What are ‘Science4Policy’ competences and why are they crucial for researchers to achieve policy impact?

online only • 27 April • 10:00–11:15 CEST

Achieving policy impact requires a distinct set of ‘Science4Policy’ competences. Discover the new ‘Science4Policy’ Competence Framework and why it is essential for researchers and research organisations working at the science-policy interface. 

If Covid-19 is the 9/11 moment for global science advice, what needs to happen next?

in person (NH Bloom Brussels) • 28 April • 14:00–15:30 CEST

If Covid-19 is the 9/11 moment for global science advice, what needs to happen next? As the main conference concludes, this open debate unites delegates including politicians, chief science advisers, diplomats, researchers and science-interested citizens, to examine how scientific advice feeds into effective policymaking, or not.

Good advice for (young) science policy advisors

online only • 29 April • 10:00 CEST

How can I become an effective science-policy advisor? Top experts and early career researchers discuss careers, skills, training, organisations, and lessons learnt between policy engagement and scientific integrity.

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