Cardiff Hub Oversees Completion of new Evidence Review on Science Advice for Policy

Cardiff Hub Oversees Completion of new Evidence Review on Science Advice for Policy

The AE Cardiff Hub has overseen the completion of the Evidence Review Report Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty for the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) as part of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). The report has been launched on Tuesday 9th July 2019.

SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) was asked to produce this Evidence Review Report to inform the Scientific Opinion of the GCSA, which will published in the autumn. Making sense of science for policy is the latest evidence review delivered by the SAPEA Consortium and has been led by Academia Europaea, with responsibility for management and delivery of the work given to the AE Cardiff Hub.

The Hub was responsible for the coordination of the international Working Group, the formal peer review, an expert workshop and outreach activities, as well as the preparation of the report for publication. An online knowledge base was also created in collaboration with Cardiff University Libraries to support the Working Group, with special input from Dr Alison Weightman, Delyth Morris and Sarah Puzey.

Professor Ole Petersen FRS, Academic Director of the Cardiff Hub and Vice-President of Academia Europaea, represented SAPEA in the project, with Louise Edwards, Hub Manager, as Chair of the SAPEA Team. Dr Esther Dorado-Ladera, Executive Officer (Projects), provided further critical support.

The Evidence Review Report highlights a number of key conclusions:

  • Science is one of many sources of knowledge that inform policy. Its unique strength it is that it is based on rigorous enquiry, continuous analysis and debate, providing a set of evidence that can be respected as valid, relevant and reliable.
  • Science advice supports effective policymaking by providing the best available knowledge, which can then be used to understand a specific problem, generate and evaluate policy options and monitor results of policy implementation. It also provides meaning to the discussion around critical topics within society. The advice works best when it is guided by the ideal of co-creation of knowledge and policy options between scientists and policymakers.
  • The relationship between science advisers and policymakers relies on building mutual trust, where both scientists and policymakers are honest about their values and goals.
  • Scientific knowledge should always inform societal debate and decision-making. Citizens often have their own experiences of the policy issue under consideration and should be included in the ongoing process of deliberation between scientists, policymakers and the public.

Professor Ortwin Renn, Chair SAPEA Working Group on Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty, said:

Science advice for policymaking is in high demand and in urgent need.  In today’s world of ‘fake news’, it is vital that we review the best available evidence and communicate it clearly to policymakers and the public. Where the science is uncertain, we must assess and explain those uncertainties, ambiguities and tensions.  We live in democracies, where public scrutiny and accountability of both scientists and policymakers are inevitable and even desirable.

Professor Sierd Cloetingh, Chair of the SAPEA Board and President of Academia Europaea, said:

How we provide good science advice to European Commission policymakers is a vital question that sits at the core of SAPEA’s mission. This report is a fundamental contribution to the future development of science advice and is based on the multidisciplinary expertise of a group of first-class scientists, all with practical experience of the world of science advice.

The Evidence Review Report and more information about the project are available here.

Read more about our work on Making sense of science for policy here.

Read more about our work in SAPEA here.

9th July 2019. For further information please contact Esther Dorado Ladera, Executive Officer (Projects) doradoladerae@cardiff.ac.uk
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