Category Archives: News

Science Advice to Government – Why is it Relevant? 2nd Workshop. 18th March 2021

The panel members will reflect on existing processes, mechanisms and structures providing scientific advice to governments in Europe. In doing so it will discuss how to increase the demand and uptake of evidence generated by these structures, and more in general, in political decision-making. What are the challenges and guiding principles of providing scientific advice to policymakers? Are they evolving with time? Are they different in a context of complexity and uncertainty as illustrated by the Covid-19 pandemic?

18th March 2021 | 9-11am (GMT)

Renzo Tomellini, Head of Unit, Scientific Advice Mechanism, DG Research and Innovation EC
José Manuel MendonçaPresident of the Board of Directors of INESC TEC, President of the National Council of Science, Technology and Innovation (CNCTI)
Peter Gluckman, Chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)
Carole Mundell, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office FCDO Chief International Science Envoy

MODERATOR: David Budtz Pedersen, Professor of Science Communication and Director of the Humanomics Research Institute in Copenhagen

Event Webpage – programme, speakers, registration etc.

Trans-European online seminar on science-based policy advice in agriculture, food, climate and environment, March 16-17, 2021

Following the seminar, we have prepared an article describing main points from the seminar, and providing a glimpse of the challenges across Europe in science-based policy advice. You are very welcome make use of the article at your own website or to forward the article to anyone who might be interested in your institution or country. The article can also be shared via Twitter link.

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Aarhus University and European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) invite stakeholders to participate in a trans-European seminar to create synergy and knowledge sharing among researchers across Europe. The aim is to heighten further the quality of the European science-based policy. The seminar takes place online on the 16th and 17th of March, 2021.

European governments are facing critical decisions on agriculture, food, climate and environment. Science based policy advice is in high demand, but varies across Europe. The aim of the first trans-European seminar in this area is to facilitate exchange of experiences, challenges and best practices in how to provide Science based policy advice.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly revealed how important flexibility is in the advice system. It is therefore crucial for the development, sustainability and resilience of countries and regions to learn from successful cases of science-based advice and policy recommendation. It is equally important to discuss together the reasons for failures”, says Professor Tarmo Soomere, who is the chair of ESAF.

Online workshop on “Science for policymaking in Estonia”, March 9, 2021

This virtual event is the sixth of the workshop series “Strengthening and connecting eco-systems of science for policy in Europe” launched by the JRC in September 2020.  Organised by the European Commission jointly with the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF).

Date/Time: The virtual workshop will take place online on 9 March 2021 between 13h30 and 16h15 CET (14h30 and 17h15 EST). The video-call will be opened at 13h10 CET / 14h10 EST to ensure a smooth start.  

Registration: You can register for the workshop via this registration portal until 1 March 2021. We will confirm your participation on 3 March at the latest. Please note that we may not be able to accommodate all requests for participation in order to keep the workshop interactive and participatory.

Objectives: The workshop pursues three objectives: first, mapping Estonia’s science for policy eco-system and science advice institutions and processes; secondly, analyse drivers and bottlenecks/challenges experienced in science for policy eco-system of Estonia; and thirdly, collectively creating projects and solutions to overcome identified challenges/bottlenecks.   

Workshop process/Content:  The ~3 hrs programme consists of a mix of short introductory interventions, a break-out group session (what works?; what’s needed/helps?), and a wrap-up plenary. Introductory reflections are provided by: Jüri Ratas, former Prime Minister of Estonia; Prof. Krista Fisher, Member of the National COVID-19 Science Advice Group; Prof Tarmo Soomere, Chair of ESAF and President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences; Dr. Liina Eek, Estonian Research Council; and Prof. Mark W.J. Ferguson, Director-General of the Science Foundation Ireland, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland. Please find the draft agenda.  

Technical Platforms/Instructions: The workshop will be run through MS Teams, specifically via this channel. Since the first workshop revealed some problems with connecting via Teams, please read the instructions attached. In these instructions, you will also find slots for test calls with MS Teams to test your connection ahead of the workshop, which we strongly encourage you to take advantage of.  Read MS-Team instructions.

Survey Participation:  As preparation to the workshop, we would like to kindly ask you to participate in our short 5-minute survey on the “qualities of your country’s science for policy eco-system”. The results will be presented briefly during the workshop.

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