Category Archives: News

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’

the Netherlands Scientific Council Position Paper on the introduction of a coronavirus app

The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) has prepared a Position Paper in which it calls for a very cautious and careful approach to the introduction of a coronavirus app. New digital technologies can bring many benefits to society. Their value has also been evident during the coronavirus crisis, but a critical assessment is also important.

It is crucial to follow a careful process. The WRR sees two main risks. The first is that decisions will be taken in haste. Such decisions may have long-term consequences that are harder to remedy and therefore leave no scope for an alternative approach. A second problem is that technologies are often viewed as a solution in isolation, without taking sufficient account of the context.

The Position Paper can be found here:

‘WRR Position Paper on a coronavirus app’

SAPEA Symposium: ‘The future of science advice in Europe’

This SAPEA Symposium is a one-day event on 13 November in Helsinki and brings together leading practitioners and scholars to reflect on emerging trends, weak signals, and promising opportunities for developing next-generation science advice capabilities.

The focus will be on both EU-level and national level science advice. The event will also provide useful input to Finland from around Europe as Finland develops its next-generation science advice capabilities.

Venue: National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo), Mannerheimintie 34, Helsinki.

For more information and registration, please visit: https://www.sapea.info/symposium/

New SAM opinion ‘Scientific Advice to European Policy in a Complex world’ published

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors seventh scientific opinion, ‘Scientific Advice to European Policy in a Complex World’, was delivered to Commissioner Moedas during their 19th plenary meeting on 24 September in Brussels. It was published and presented to the public during the European Commission’s Research and Innovation days conference by Professor Pearl Dykstra, Deputy Chair of the group.

ESAF members , amongst other experts across Europe, have contributed to this opinion by sharing insights into their work as policy advisors to their respective governments. They did this not only through providing several case studies and lessons learnt, but also through discussing these lessons in various sessions at the Joint ESAF/INGSA meeting of last June.

Please find the opinion as well as the corresponding scoping paper (previously entitled ‘Making Sense of Science under Conditions of Complexity and Uncertainty’) through the link below.

‘Scientific Advice to European Policy in a Complex world’