Science, Decision Making, and the Future of European Policy Making

After ten years of action at EU level to develop and promote the role of science in society, at least one thing is very clear: we can only find the right answers to the challenges we face by involving as many stakeholders as possible in the research and innovation process.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation

Never before in human history has so much scientific knowledge been available and so easily accessible. We have the means to understand the challenges we face and to make effective policies. Nevertheless the record in delivering truly evidence-based policy is mixed, at best and is cause of considerable frustration to scientists.

Why science sometimes succeeds in shaping and influencing the policy agenda and why it fails is poorly understood. A better understanding of the policy process by scientists and of the scientific process by policymakers would surely help. Recognising the democratic drivers behind policymaking also calls for more public engagement in science and policy, now much more possible in the digital age. This session heared from practitioners of science advice to policy who highlighted current best practices and identify the challenges still to be addressed.