Principles and Guidelines of Science Advice

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INGSA hosted a Workshop on Principles & Guidelines for Government Scientific Advice held on September 28, 2016, ahead of its biennial summit. The workshop was facilitated by INGSA vice chair, Prof James Wilsdon and Prof Dan Sarewitz from Arizona State University. It included approximately 40 experts from 20 nations, with additional input from the Global Young Academy. Read the Global Young Academy’s workshop report on Broadening the scope of science advice: Engaging knowledge-creators beyond the academy. The charge to the workshop attendees originates from Article 4 of the Declaration on the Enabling Power of Science of the 2015 Budapest World Science Forum.

“We 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. We call on all scientists to monitor and assess policy areas and provide, in a pro-active manner, independent and timely science advice even when its application is not guaranteed or not expected.”

Wilsdon and Sarewitz reviewed important existing texts and distilled these into a set of draft principles and guidelines for discussion. The level and range of discussion in the room demonstrated not just the depth of engagement and interest in this issue, but also the significant challenge it is to work towards a universal set of principles and guidelines for robust evidence brokerage in multiple and complex contexts.

This was the first in a series of consultative workshops planned over the next year for input into the draft principles, with the intention of reporting back to the World Science Forum in Jordan 2017.