Link maker

Scientists call for bridging the missing link between politics and science

Scientists from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Scientists Community want to see the social value of scientific research better recognized and recognised. Published by Frontiers Policy Labs, an appeal has been signed by 52 scholars from some of the world’s leading academic institutions. The signatories say that for science to take root in decision-making, a new culture of engagement between policy makers and scientists must be established.

The initiative, led by University College London professor and WEF young scientist Ruth Morgan, urges institutions to do more to support researchers in policy engagement. Morgan says we need to change how this crucial work of researchers is recognized if we are to enable a more meaningful and impactful dialogue between policymakers and scientists.

Morgan said: “Revolutionary and pioneering science is the first step, but we also need to get this science into the hands of those working in policy who can use it to change the world for the better. There is no no quick fix, it takes time to build relationships over months and years If we can create opportunities for scientists and policy makers to have ongoing conversations, we will be able to better address the grand challenges We hope this initiative can be the starting point for a broader conversation among world leaders and institutions about how we can get there.

Morgan says 100 million hours of science policy engagement could be created each year if institutions nurtured just 10% of scientists in the public service, or about 1 million people, with two hours a week to focus on task.

Forging stronger links between science and policy

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes have turned to science and the need for greater emphasis on evidence-based decision-making. The initiative’s 52 signatories are past and present-day World Economic Forum young scientists from around the world who believe that if this happens, a ripple effect could be created and more science in d Other areas would end up in the hands of decision-makers to inform their decisions. .

Dr. Frederick Fenter is editor of Frontiers, the academic publisher behind Policy Labs that published the call. Policy Labs was launched in 2020 to strengthen the connection between sound scientific research and informed policymaking.

“Many of the challenges we face as a global society – in relation to human well-being and planetary health – can only be successfully and sustainably addressed with the help of dedicated and level-headed experts. who can translate research implications into evidence-based policy.

“What Policy Labs has taught us is that most researchers want to engage in the policy process. And this article shows that right now it’s still very difficult for them to do that,” Fenter says. “We also welcome recent efforts by the EU to reform research assessment, and believe that the issue highlighted in Professor Morgan’s article should be a central part of this process. The pandemic and our response to it have clearly demonstrated that we must act now, in earnest, to strengthen the link between scientific evidence and policy.

Rethinking Research Assessment

Young scientists at the World Economic Forum say scientists are often not encouraged to spend time engaging in conversations that build networks and bridges beyond their discipline. As a result, critical scientific research does not always end up in the hands of those who can deploy it for the good of society, and opportunities for problem solving may be missed.

“Rather than dismissing scientists in times of crisis, the world could benefit from stronger and more cohesive interactions between scientists and policymakers,” says Greta Keenan, young scientist community manager at the World Economic Forum. “As an international organization for public-private partnerships, we recognize the importance of giving scientists a seat at the table and helping promising scientists develop the systems leadership skills needed to solve global challenges. “

The paper suggests that if we want to ensure that science contributes to society, we need to incorporate measures into the assessment of scientific excellence that value and reward the engagement of science in policy. It is very important to evaluate excellence on the basis of a system that integrates and rewards these contributions and the skills necessary to provide evidence for policy-making, whether in written, oral or visual form.

– This press release was provided by Frontiers