INGSA is excited to be participating in the 7th Science Forum South Africa - Wednesday 1 to Friday 3 December 2021 on the SFSA 2021 digital platform.

As part of SFSA 2021, SciCom – Making Sense of Science is organising a fantastic global panel on the question: If COVID-19 is the 9/11 moment for global science advice, what needs to happen next?

This panel will include current INGSA President, Prof Rémi Quirion and INGSA Inaugural Chair, Sir Peter Gluckman, alongside a diverse and expert panel.

REGISTER FOR SFA 2021 NOW - We look forward to seeing you virtually at this unique session.

Session Moderator:

Prof. Himla Soodyall is CEO, Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Session Overview:

Moderated by the Academy of Science of South Africa, this high-level panel brings together politicians, chief science advisors, presidents of science advisory bodies and science diplomats from five continents to examine how scientific advice feeds into effective policymaking, or not. Their premise is that if the 9/11 attacks changed all our lives from the perspective of state security, then Covid-19 must leave a similar legacy for the future of globally robust policymaking as a shared public good. Or must we be prepared to accept the dumbing-down of ‘evidence’ and a ‘snapback to normal’ in our post-pandemic politics?

For those who believe wholeheartedly in evidence and the integrity of science, the past two-years have been challenging. Information, correct and incorrect, can spread like a virus. We are certainly at a turning point, not just in this pandemic, but in our collective management of longer-term challenges affecting us all. Speakers will argue that the importance of open science and access to data has never been more critical. They will underscore what is really at stake in the relationship between science and policymaking, both during crises and within our daily lives. From the air we breathe, the food we eat and the cars we drive, to the medical treatments or vaccines we take, and the education we provide to children, this relationship, and the decisions it can influence, matter immensely. It is much more than a philosophical debate.

Session Panellists:

Professor Rémi Quirion is the inaugural Chief Scientist of Quebec since July 2011, and has been elected President of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) in 2021. As McGill Full Professor, Psychiatry and outgoing Scientific Director at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, he served as Vice-Dean, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, as well as Senior University Advisor (Health Sciences Research) in addition to being the CIHR Executive Director, for Alzheimer's Diseases, from 2009 to 2011. Prof. Quirion was the inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) until March 2009. Since 2011, he is the President of the three Board of Directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec, he has chaired the Quebec’s comity on the University of the future in 2020.

In addition to being on the Advisory Board of over 15 journals in Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Neurosciences, he has published 5 books, more than 650 scientific papers and articles.

He received many awards and recognitions as: the Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; and was appointed Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  In 2007 Prof. Quirion became a Member of the Order of Canada (O.C.).

Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZ FRS is President of the International Science Council. He is director of Koi : The Centre for Informed Futures ( in the University of Auckland. From 2009-2018 he was first Chief Science Advisor to three Prime Ministers of New Zealand.  He was foundation chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) from 2014-2021. He trained as a pediatrician and biomedical scientist, publishing over 700 papers and several academic and popular books in developmental physiology, metabolism and neuroscience,  growth and development ,and evolutionary biology and medicine. He co-chaired the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (2013-2017). He is chief scientific officer of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences. Sir Peter has written and spoken extensively on science-policy, risk assessment, science-diplomacy, and science-society interactions. In 2016 he received the AAAS award in Science Diplomacy. He has received the highest civilian and scientific honours in New Zealand. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of London, of the Royal Society of New Zealand a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (USA) He holds a Distinguished University Professorship in the University of Auckland, New Zealand and honorary chairs at the University College London, University of Southampton and National University of Singapore

Dr. Miyoko O. Watanabe serves at Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) as Executive Director and Director of Office for Diversity and Inclusiveness.

She has a long experience of research in semiconductor physics at Toshiba R&D Center in Japan, and also conducted physics research as Postdoctoral Fellow in Dalhousie University, Canada, in 1986-1988 and as Visiting Researcher at Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory, The University of Birmingham, U.K. in 1997. Returning to Toshiba, she worked as Senior Research Scientist and as Senior Quality Expert at Toshiba R&D Center. After them, she served at different positions, including that of Chief Specialist at Audit Division, Group Leader at Power Systems Company, and Executive Quality Leader at Innovation Division at the headquarters of Toshiba.

Dr. Watanabe joined JST in 2013 and is serving there up to now. She worked as Fellow at Center for Research and Development Strategy and as Program Director for Research and Development Programs Focused on Technology Transfer in 2013. She served present positions including Executive Director in JST in 2014.

She also worked as Council member of Science and Technology Council at Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2012-2017, as Chair of Japan Women Engineers Forum in 2012-2014, and as Auditor at National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan in 2013-2015.

Dr. Watanabe was Council Member of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) in 2011-2020, Vice-president in 2017-2020, Chair of Committee on Comprehensive and Synthetic Engineering in SCJ in 2014-2017, and a member of Specialist Committee on Gender Equality in the Council for Gender Equality of the Japanese Cabinet Office in 2014-2021. She is now Member of SCJ, and Chair of Committee on Gender-based innovation in SCJ.

She was the chair of both of Science Agora in 2015 and 2016 and Gender Summit 10 in Tokyo in 2017

Professor Derrick Swartz is Special Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and also serves as Chief Strategy Advisor: Ocean Sciences at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. He previously served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare from 1999 to 2007, and Nelson Mandela University, in South Africa from 2008 to 2017.

Prof Swartz holds DPhil in Sociology of development and industrialization and is also recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Human Rights Law from Essex University in 2008. His current work interests include science and innovation policy, higher education, and Ocean Science and sustainable development in Africa.

Professor Emeritus Ene Ergma is an astrophysicist, active politician and member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. She also was the Speaker of the Parliament of Estonia for 10 years. As Head of Estonian Space Committee Prof. Ergma had a major role in Estonia becoming an official Member State of European Space Agency.

Session Organiser:

Aidan Gilligan is Founder and CEO of the SciCom Network, a Brussels and Cape Town-based science diplomacy agency with Associates in Copenhagen, Geneva, London and Paris, striving to make greater sense of science-policy-making for public, private and especially cause-related groups.

SciCom draws on over twenty years of top-tier experience working at the nexus of science and society, particularly on emotionally charged issues around public health, energy policy or international competition and statecraft. Its corporate ethos is to engage with decision-makers at the highest levels of the global scientific enterprise to champion ‘evidence-based policy-making above policy-biased evidence-making.

As CEO of SciCom, Aidan serves on multiple voluntary committees promoting scientific conferencing and science journalism capacity-building. Harm reduction science for addicted persons is a major area of interest. Aidan supports most of the large generalist science conferences(Science Agora Tokyo, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), KOFAC Seoul etc.) and is accredited, amongst others, as the initiator of Science Forum South Africa and the Latin America & Caribbean Science Open Forum (CILAC).

Current roles include, amongst others, consultancy services to the Japanese governments Science & Technology Agency (JST), to the South African Ministry of Science & Education (DSI) and to the Office of the Chief Science Advisor to the government of Quebec. Aidan is also a Contributorto the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Assessment for Europe, a Planning Group Member of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)and an International Adviser to the World Science Forum 2023.