Our world is faced with a myriad of complex problems. Science aims to address these challenges and provide information on their causes and consequences, and provide potential solutions for them. But scientific knowledge in itself cannot resolve the complex issues facing society if it is not incorporated by society, and in particular by Governments who make policy to guide actions and decisions in society. How is scientific knowledge taken up by governments and incorporated into policy? How do scientists ensure that the best information is adequately and appropriately used?

These were some of the questions addressed during two meetings attended by Prof. Bernard Slippers with Science Advice as a focus.

The first was a workshop jointly organised by the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) and the Academy of Science of South Africa on Science Advice for African Scientists, had as its theme "enhancing capacities in providing science advice to governments". The meeting was facilitated by Sir Prof. Peter Gluckman, Chair of INGSA/Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who shared from his rich experience on principles of science advice. The workshop included talks on Africa’s Science Advice Landscape (Dr Thiambi Netshiluvhi, Director (Senior Specialist): Policy Analysis and Advice, Department of Science and Technology); Social Science and Science Advice (Dr Heide Hackmann, Executive Director, International Council for Science); Structures of Science Advice (Prof. James Wilsdon, Co-Chair INGSA/Director, Impact, Policy and Engagement and Chair of Research Policy, Faculty of Social at Science Sheffield University); and Sustainable Development Goals and Science (Dr Flavia Schlegel, Assistant DG, Natural Sciences UNESCO). The more than 40 participants also regularly engaged as mock science advice panels dealing with complex cases in countries called Panderia, Swamperia, Carboneria and others.

Learn more and see resources on Science Advice to Governments on the INGSA website, and join if you are interested!

Subsequent to this Bernard also attended the meeting of the IAP: Global Network of Science Academies conference and general assembly that happens once every three years. More than 200 people attended this event and nearly 80 academies of science and medicine, making it the largest congregation of academies ever. The meeting built on the theme of the INGSA Science Advice workshop. Apart from leaders of numerous national academies from around the world, the meeting also brought together other international science organisations. Bernard participated in the panel on science advice during time of crisis. He represented the Young Academy movement and highlighted their incredible value as a structure and training tool to involve young scientists in policy.

For more information on the conference click here.

A short report of the event is available here.