Category Archives: News

Coronavirus: Advisors provide joint opinion on pandemic preparedness and management

The European Commission’s independent Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) and Peter Piot, special advisor to the President Ursula von der Leyen on the response to COVID-19, published a joint Opinion on Improving pandemic preparedness and management.

The advisors provide a set of recommendations that will help to prevent and pre-empt the emerging infectious diseases globally, enhance coordination across EU Member States and internationally and strengthen systems of preparedness and management. Additionally, the advisors look at how we can best uphold fundamental rights and social justice in times of a pandemic. Finally, they advise the Commission to address systemic issues linked to health crises, most notably in the fields of sustainability and social justice.
See the EC News here.

Commissioner Gabriel appoints three new members of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission

Commissioner Gabriel appointed three new members to the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA). Additionally, Nicole Grobert and Sir Paul Nurse have been elected as the new Chair and deputy-Chair of the Group.

The three new members were nominated by Research Organisations in response to an open call for nominations and shortlisted by a high level independent Identification Committee. They have been  appointed for three years as of today.

  • Maarja Kruusmaa – Professor of Biorobotics, Vice-rector for Research, Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and Visiting professor with Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology (NTNU)
  • Alberto Melloni – Professor of History of Christianity at University of Modena/Reggio Emilia, secretary of the Foundation for Religious Studies and Chair Holder of the UNESCO Chair on Religious Pluralism and Peace at the University of Bologna
  • Nebojsa Nakicenovic – Director of The World in 2050 (TWI2050), former Deputy Director General and Acting Director General of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and a former tenured Professor of Energy Economics at Vienna University of Technology

With their broad, collective expertise, the renewed Group of Chief Scientific Advisors will support EU policy makers to ensure better regulation by providing first-class, independent scientific evidence. In particular, they will contribute to the on-going work on the scientific opinions on:

Commissioner Gabriel expressed her gratitude for the excellent work done by the Chief Scientific Advisors whose mandate expired, the chair Rolf Heuer, the deputy chair Pearl Dykstra and Elvira Fortunato and praised the high quality of their contributions over the past five years.

See news at the EC Webpage

CASBS Stanford call for applications, deadline November 9, 2020

The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University is now accepting applications for residential fellowships for the 2021–22 academic year. Online applications will be accepted at the Center’s website through November 9, 2020. See also CASBS Fellows Program Fact Sheet.

CASBS encourage applications from scholars and thinkers who are minorities broadly defined, women, and those who represent a wide variety of institutions and countries.

CASBS is particularly eager to receive applications from accomplished scholars and thinkers who engage with the significant societal challenges the Center focuses on, described here, and the research methods that support them.
For more information, guidelines, and application requirements, visit CASBS website.

Highlights of ESAF meeting on scientific advice during the COVID-19 crisis

On Wednesday 24 June 2020, the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) organized a virtual meeting in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The meeting focused on lessons that can be learned from the crisis for providing strategic scientific advice.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual ESAF meeting of 2020 was virtual. With over 45 participants, we shared lessons on the use of scientific advice in the COVID-19 crisis. In this document we gathered highlights from the discussion and the questionnaires, which most participants completed before the meeting.

Download the highlights of the meeting here:

Highlights virtual ESAF meeting, 24 June 2020

In preparation of the meeting, ESAF members and associates shared examples of national science advice contributions on COVID-19. These contributions can be viewed here.

Preparations for ESAF-6: inventory of national sience advice contributions

ESAF meeting on scientific advice during the COVID-19 crisis

On Wednesday 24 June 2020, the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) organized a virtual meeting in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The meeting focused on lessons that can be learned from the crisis for providing strategic scientific advice.

In addition to ESAF members and partners, virologist Peter Piot also joined in the meeting, sharing his reflections based on his role as a special advisor to the President of the European Commission. Professor Pearl Dykstra presented a statement by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, prepared in collaboration with Peter Piot and the European Group of Ethics in Science and New Technologies. The statement contains several best practices for scientific advisors, including the importance of multidisciplinary advice and transparency about the uncertainty that is intrinsic to a pandemic such as the coronavirus crisis.

Importance of reflection and cooperation

All attendees underscored the importance of cooperation and the sharing of knowledge, as well as the range of challenges associated with providing scientific advice in times of crisis. It is essential to reflect on what can be learned while events are still fresh in everyone’s memory and have not yet been influenced by the rationalizations that come with hindsight.

Joint statement on scientific advice to European policy makers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

On 24 June 2020, the European Commission’s independent Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) and Peter Piot, special advisor to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, published a joint statement on scientific advice to European policy makers concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement was publicly released and presented by Pearl Dykstra, deputy chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, during the 6th annual ESAF meeting held digitally on 24 June.

Read the press release here, and download the full statement below.

Joint statement on scientific advice to European policy makers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

The Netherlands Scientific Council Reflections on the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis is already having a huge economic, social and political impact. While a great deal of effective action has been taken to weather the current crisis, The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) has also observed the disproportionate economic and health risks affecting the vulnerable, how businesses are struggling to absorb the shock, and the adverse effects on international cooperation. In its report entitled ‘Vulnerability and resilience’, the WRR aims to provide support for the government and for parliament as they tackle the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read the report here:

“Vulnerability and resilience: WRR reflections on the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis”

German National Academy of Sciences reflections on Coronavirus Pandemic

Since the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 pandemic, ESAF member the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has been providing scientific advice to the German Federal Government, other decision-makers and the wider public in Germany.

Leading scientists from different fields have elaborated 3 ad-hoc-statements so far. Please find these through the links below:

Estionian Academy of Sciences vision on recovery from the Covid-19 crisis

The Estonian Academy of Sciences has prepared a vision on the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The standpoint of the Academy is that now is the time to start structural changes through which with a longer perspective the state and society will become stronger and more sustainable. Please find the vision document here:

‘Vision Recovery from COVID-19 crisis, Estionian Academy of Sciences’