The debate was chaired by Professor John Tucker MAE and opened by the new Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Peter Halligan, who gave insightful reflections on science advice for policymaking following his first six months in the role.
The focus then switched to SAPEA and its role within the European Scientific Advice Mechanism. Professor Ole Petersen gave an overview of SAPEA’s achievements and talked about the three evidence review reports handed over to the European Commission so far. He highlighted the contributions of SAPEA to the Mechanism, such as the large global network of experts available, the transparency of the scientific evidence gathered by academies, which are independent self-governing institutions, and the fact that all the reports produced by the Mechanism are in the public domain.
Professor Petersen’s introduction to SAPEA was illustrated by two case studies. The Carbon Capture and Utilisation evidence review report was presented by Professor Mike Bowker, who provided real insight into the scientific input and the wide range of sources that fed into the report. Wendy Sadler MBE shared her valuable experience of public engagement with science, particularly her work on the Food from the Oceans project, and powerfully demonstrated how to translate complex science.
The presentations sparked an interesting and lively debate, with the audience expressing their views on a wide variety of issues. These included the challenges faced by researchers in navigating the policy process, the understanding of science by policymakers, the relationship between science and the media, and diversity within the sector.
If you missed the event, you can watch the slides and listen to the recording here. The Programme provides details on the speakers and timings. A full report on the event, published by Academia Europaea, will follow. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact Juliet Davies.