When Science Drive Policy – Op-Ed – Prof Zakri Abdul Hamid

April 16th 2018 – New Straits Times

Excerpt below – To read the full article, click here

When science drives policy

by Prof Zakri Abdul Hamid

Determining how science could create wealth and jobs for the rakyat was the simple, farsighted instruction Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak gave me when I was appointed his science adviser several years ago.

In Malaysia and elsewhere, science is increasingly found at the heart of policy and decision-making.

Whether the issue is climate change, renewable energy, natural disaster prevention and mitigation, food security, or disease pandemics, policymakers want scientific advice. read more

GUEST BLOG: Global or Local? Where can science influence urban policy best?

Sam Lane is a Research Assistant at UCL City Leadership Lab. You can follow on Sam on Twitter: @SamKeithLane

Urban policy seldom exists, at least under that title. Many regard urban policy as city or municipal government policy which covers issues from land-use zoning to waste collection, and education to healthcare services. But is this where science can influence urban policy best?

At a national level, few countries have a national urban policy and these are often criticised for not focusing on enough of the issues that urban areas face, or that they are too focused on the city economies rather than the citizens. In the absence of a national urban policy, where do researchers go with their findings on the urban? Very often, different civil servants across departments read chapters on urban research from a variety of global reports but this information remains siloed in these departments. read more

GUEST BLOG: Science Diplomacy – Reflections from Quebec and Canada

This blog is a reflection on a Panel Discussion that occurred 10th May 2017 at the Association Francophone Pour Le Savoir (ACFAS) 2017 Congress in Montreal, Canada.

Written by: Tina Gruosso
Adapted by: Mary-Rose Bradley-Gill, Kim Phan and Tina Gruosso

Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec
Paul Dufour, fellow and adjunct professor at the Institute for Science, Society and
Policy in the University of Ottawa
Stéphane Roussel, Director of CIRRICQ1
Michel Lafleur, Associate Deputy Minister for Bilateral Affairs, Province of Quebec
Denis Robert, Director of Foreign Policy Research at Global Affairs Canada
Nicolas Chapuis, Ambassador of France to Canada
Nick Baker, Consul General of Great Britain in Montreal
Urs Obrist, Senior Science and Technology Counsellor at Embassy of Switzerland
to Canada
Michel Robitaille, Chief Executive Officer at LOJIQ2
Jean Lebel, President of IDRC3
Maryse Lassonde, President of the Royal Society of Canada and the Scientific Director of Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies4
Pierre Marc Johnson, counsel and former Premier of Quebec read more

INGSA workshop on social science advice to policy: perspectives from an early career researcher

Alessandro Allegra
Doctoral Candidate in Science and Technology Studies, University College London

What are the current challenges and opportunities for social science advice to policy in Europe? What can social science tell us about the roles and responsibilities of scientific advisors? These are some of the questions addressed by academics, representatives of learned societies, and of philanthropic research foundations at a recent workshop organised in Berlin by the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) together with the Mercator Foundation and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change on the 25th of April 2017. read more

Scientific Advice in a Troubled World


Sir Peter Gluckman

Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Chair, International Network of Government Science Advice

University Distinguished Professor, University of Auckland

January 31 2017


Most of us would hopefully accept that governments will make better decisions if they use well-developed evidence wisely. At the same time however, evidence can be ignored, manipulated or even falsely constructed for particular ends. The ability for misleading information to become the basis of political advocacy, strategy and policy making is not new but it has now become much more apparent and is creating great concern. Nor is this a crisis of knowledge or expertise as some would argue. Rather, what has changed is the nature, speed and pervasiveness of communication and the ease with which individuals can themselves generate and transmit information, whether it is true, altered or false. read more

What is required to build capacity for science advice in developing countries?

We are happy to begin a partnership with the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), an organization that has made great strides in understanding and changing the dynamics of science advice. This is particularly important in the developing world, where there is a continued need to strengthen both the “supply” and the “demand” sides of the science advice coin. Drawing on our experience and perspectives at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), I would like to underscore four key areas for action. These relate to individual capacity, organizational capacity, science communication skills, and the overall science and innovation ecosystem that supports science advice. read more

If the principles of responsibility, integrity, independence and accountability are the answer, then what was the question?

INGSA Guest Blog from Dr. Marc Saner

I had the privilege to be the rapporteur at the Workshop on Principles & Guidelines for Government Scientific Advice held on September 28, 2016 and to report the results to the plenary of the 2nd INGSA Conference two days later.  The workshop was facilitated by James Wilsdon and Dan Sarewitz and included approximately 40 experts from 20 nations, with additional input from the Global Young Academy. I offer here observations from the rapporteur’s vantage point. read more

A theory of principles for science advisors

Guest blog from Dr Heather Douglas

On Wednesday Sept. 28, science advisors and scholars of science advice met to address the challenges of articulating principles for science advice, principles that would be applicable across institutional contexts and political cultures.  The World Science Forum at Budapest in November 2015 framed the challenge in a “call for concerted action of scientists and policy-makers to define and promulgate universal principles for developing and communicating science to inform and evaluate policy based on responsibility, integrity, independence, and accountability.” (World Science Forum 2015)  As the declaration from the forum noted, “the independence, transparency, visibility and accountability of those who receive and provide advice has never been more important.”  (ibid.) read more

Principles of science advice to government: key problems and feasible solutions

Guest blog from Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy 

Q: can we design principles of science advice to government to be universal, exhaustive, coherent, clearly defined, and memorable?

If not, we need to choose between these requirements. So, who should get to choose and what should their criteria be?

I provide six scenarios to help us make clear choices between trade-offs. Please enjoy the irony of a 2000-word post calling for a small number of memorable heuristics.

In 2015, the World Science Forum declared the value of scientific advice to government and called for a set of principles to underpin the conduct of people giving that advice, based on the principles including transparency, visibility, responsibility, integrity, independence, and accountability. INGSA is taking this recommendation forward, with initial discussions led by Peter Gluckman, James Wilsdon and Daniel Sarewitz and built on many existing documents outlining those principles, followed by consultation and key contributions from people like Heather Douglas and Marc Saner. Here is Marc Saner summing up the pre-conference workshop: read more

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