Tales of the Unexpected: How Science Advisers Manage Uncertainty

Saturday, February 16, 2013: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 312 (Hynes Convention Center)
The U.S. administration has, despite being in the midst of a "great recession," increased science and technology investment and elevated science in policy-making. The European Commission has increased its current research budget by 40 percent -- and Horizon 2020 expects to go further, is creating a frontier-free European Research Area and Innovation Union, has enhanced researchers' careers, has created a European Research Council and a European Institute for Innovation and Technology, and has appointed a chief scientific adviser to President Barroso. This session will examine how the worlds of policy-makers and scientists have never been closer. It will dissect the science behind science policy-making and its successes and failures. In particular, it will address the issue of how uncertainty in scientific advice is handled by policy-makers and what can be done to better communicate uncertainty, aiming to avoid the use of uncertainty as an excuse not to act. Speakers will chart how international S&T cooperation, too, has gained prominence for bettering relations with the world, while addressing urgent global challenges. From stem cells to genetically modified organisms and climate change, tension remains between scientific information and societal and political directions. Based on the real-life experiences of current science advisers, wider issues such as how to incorporate grey literature and rising scientific communities such as China and India into a Western-oriented scientific structure will be addressed.
Geraldine Barry, Joint Research Center, European Commission
Dr. Elke Anklam, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Anne Glover, European Commission
Uncertainty: Perception Is Reality
John P. Holdren, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Uncertainty in Policy Advice: A U.S. Perspective
Miles Parker, Centre for Science and Policy, Cambridge University
Uncertainty, Ignorance and Open Policy-Making
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