INGSA2014 – Science Advice to Governments

Conference Archive – Workshops

Workshop 1:

Science & Diplomacy

A pre-conference symposium – 27 August 2014

Co-chaired by Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Editor-in-Chief of the AAAS Journal Science and Diplomacy, and the CE of New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this pre-conference symposium explored ‘the place of science in foreign ministries’.  The co-chairs thank everyone who helped to make it a success.

Overview of the symposium

The past decade has seen unprecedented interested in the interface between science and diplomacy from a number of perspectives including:

  • Diplomacy for Science – building international relationships to foster robust collaborative scientific networks and shared expertise and infrastructure;
  • Science for Diplomacy – the science enterprise as a doorway to relationship building between nations with shared goals and values;
  • Science in Diplomacy – the role of science in various diplomatic endeavours (e.g.: verification of agreements on climate change, nuclear treaties etc; in support of aid projects; in promoting economic and trade   relationships; and in various international agreements and instruments such as phyto-sanitary regulations, free trade agreements, biodiversity agreements etc.).

Yet, despite the growing interest in this intersection, there has been little discussion of the practical realities of fostering the rapprochement between two very distinct professional cultures and practices, particularly with specific reference to the classical pillars of foreign policy: diplomacy; trade/economic; and aid.  Thus, this pre-conference symposium will be focusing on the essential question:

How should scientists have input into the operation of foreign ministries and in particular into three pillars of foreign affairs (diplomacy, trade/economics and foreign aid)?

The discussion focused on questions such as: What are the mechanisms and methods that can bring scientists and policy makers in science and technology in closer alignment with ministries or departments of foreign affairs and vice versa? What is the role of public scientists in assisting countries’ foreign policy positions and how can this be optimised? What are the challenges and opportunities in enhancing the role of science in international affairs? How does the perception of science in diplomacy vary between large and small countries and between developed and developing countries?

Workshop 2:

Capacity Building

Building Capacity for Effective Science Advice: Current Needs and Opportunities

The Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, New Zealand, and the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) of University College London would like to thank panelists and participants who took part in the inaugural capacity building workshop for science advice to governemnts, held in Auckland on August 30 and September 1 2014.

The workshop was aimed at developing effective science advisory systems for building the capacity of individuals and institutions to fulfil a diverse range of advisory requirements. The panel and roundtable events scoped the capacity-building needs across a range of cultural and political contexts, and governance scales (local through transnational). These events provided an opportunity for those involved in the field of science advice to exchange ideas on identified gaps and promising practices in order to begin thinking formally about the design and delivery of interventions that begin to fill these needs. Discussion focused on a variety of potential interventions such as arrangements for sharing institutional best practices; professional development programmes and communities of practice; and university education for the next generation of policy-conversant scientists and science-savvy policy professionals.

Taken together or as separate events, the panel and the roundtable have begun the scoping process for the systemic and operational issues that are common across jurisdictions in capacity building for better science-based development of public policy. A report from the roundtable will provide the basis for a framework that will be made publically available to help civil services, universities and other training environments to structure their actions toward increased capacity at multiple levels within science advisory systems. Over the longer term, themes generated at the roundtable will be further developed through research, and further resource material on capacity building will be made available by the collaborating partners.