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The future of science advice in Europe

The future of science advice in Europe

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In-person event with streaming
This one-day event in Helsinki brought together some 200 leading practitioners and scholars from around Europe to provide expert input as Finland developed its next-generation science advice capabilities, and to send a clear message to the new European Commission about the role of science in policymaking.

Today’s world faces an increasingly complex and interconnected policy environment. This has prompted the EU and national governments to rethink existing tools and structures for designing policy, and to seek innovative ways to govern.

This rethinking extends also to science advice at both an EU and a national level. Many key policy challenges of the twenty-first century depend on scientific fields where the evidence is complex, uncertain or rapidly evolving, or where there is controversy both within and outside the scientific community.

In this context, some 200 expert delegates gathered in Helsinki to discuss emerging trends, challenges and opportunities for the future of science advice in Europe.


Science advice in a complex world

We will first briefly summarise the key messages emerging from the evidence review Making sense of science under conditions of complexity and uncertainty written by the SAPEA consortium, and the ensuing scientific opinion Scientific advice to European policy written by the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors. Next, we will discuss the key messages and the implications for organising science advice to policymakers with the workshop participants.

The role of academies in science advice: an open discussion

This interactive and reflective workshop will start with an introduction by Wim van Saarloos, who will reflect critically on his experience and the pros and cons of the Dutch science advice system, and on the role of his academy. Discussions about the issues raised are then continued in two groups, and we finally take stock with all participants together.

Science advice as a team sport: new practices and skills for collaboration

Science advice activities can and should be arranged in multiple ways, since the challenges our societies face vary as also do the practices to handle and solve them. This session looks into the principles on how to define the challenges, how to choose practices for collaboration with decision-making institutions, and how to find and choose the most suitable researchers, stakeholders and representatives of end-users to offer, discuss and use science advice in particular situations.

Putting scientific knowledge and reason at the heart of political decision-making

Why is scientific evidence increasingly ignored by politicians and voters? How can scientists increase the policy impact of their work? Come and discuss the science of why evidence-informed policy is so hard and what you can do about it.

Innovative approaches to science advice

Why should young researchers be taken into account as science advisors? How can we strengthen the ability and will to engage in societal discussion? Come to hear some innovative examples on building connections between young researchers and policymakers, and join us for a demonstration of a new dialogical discussion method called ‘Timeout’.

Science advice for a sustainable future

Environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation are top priorities of the next European Commission 2019-2024. How can science advice contribute to achieving these objectives in Europe and beyond? What are the specific needs and challenges? Are new forms of science advice needed in order to inform effective sustainability and climate policies?

A scientific horizon-scanning model for Finland

The workshop will focus on a scientific horizon scanning pilot that has been launched in October 2019 by Sofi (Science Advice Initiative of Finland). In the workshop we will share the latest news on the pilot, and we invite the participants to join the Sofi team to co-design parts of the pilot.

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