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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Event | 09 Sep 2021

Independence in Science Advice - JRC/COST satellite session at INGSA2021

On 9 September 2021, the JRC (Joint Research Centre) and COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) will jointly organise a satellite event at the upcoming INGSA (International Network for Government Science Advice) Conference: ‘Build back wiser: knowledge, policy and publics in dialogue’.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic scientific advice for policymakers was in high demand and arguably more visible to citizens than outside times of crises.

Before the pandemic, certain scientists engaging with policymaking faced criticism for a lack of independence, sometimes legitimately as part of democratic scrutiny, sometimes to delegitimise their input over inflated claims of conflicts of interest or political colouring.

Accusations of personal interests driving some scientific advisers intensified during the pandemic, further complicating the already complex task of collective sense-making of the situation. Both sides, scientists and policymakers, had to defend themselves against the suspicion of “bending” the science to fit political needs.

However, perhaps less expected, the public discourse also shed light on the other side of that equation. Politicians and other policy makers suddenly found themselves criticised for allegedly blindly following scientific advisers’ suggestions, and allegations of countries being run by virologists instead of democratically elected politicians surfaced.

Therefore, the issue of independence in science advice may now be more salient than ever before, and will be further explored during this satellite session by addressing the following questions:

  • What are the ‘do’s and don’ts’ for scientists engaging in policy advice and for policymakers receiving such advice?
  • How do the different perspectives and interests of public servants, politicians and scientists influence the credibility and independence of science evidence?
  • What needs to be the responsibility of policymakers, what of scientists?
  • How to avoid (the perception of) conflicts of interest?

We invite you to join this lively and interactive exchange between our highly experienced panel members with complementary areas of expertise on the topic. We look forward to welcoming participants from all sides of the science-policy interface, including professionals from EU, national and international administrations, think tanks, knowledge management functions, academia, research support and funding organisations.


Dr. Sara Basart, Chair of the InDust COST Action

Dr. Jan-Marco Müller, Science & Technology Advisor at European External Action Service

Prof. David Budtz Pedersen,Chair of the COST Cross-Cutting Activity (CCA) on Science Communication

Moderator: tbc


Date: 9 September, 12-13:30h (CET)


Register here