ABSTRACT: The Lisbon Strategy was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) in 2000. By moving science into a central position for the development of a European knowledge-based economy and society, its adoption at political level seems to have been a powerful catalyst for the increased involvement of scientists in science policy in the EU. Recognising the need for scientists to act collectively in order to contribute to shape the future of science policy in Europe, a pioneering group of European science organisations leaders and representatives, as well as other scientists, initiated a European, interdisciplinary, inclusive movement leading to the creation of the European Research Council (ERC) to support basic research of the highest quality. Having scientists' campaign for the funding of bottom-up research by the EU Framework Programmes exclusively on scientific grounds, and for an ERC, was a unique event in the recent history of European science policy. For the first time, the scientific community acted collectively and across disciplinary or national boundaries as a political actor for the sake of a better science policy for Europe. As is often the case when first-hand experience is gained through the creation of a new organization, novel forms of collaboration arise. The European biomedical community has recently proposed the creation of a strategic action plan for health research (the European Council of Health Research; EuCHR), provisionally translated at present into a Scientific Panel for Health (SPH) research in Horizon 2020, the EU's research-funding programme for the period 2014-2020. The creation of such Scientific Panel should be viewed as an important contribution by the biomedical community as a major political agreement has been reached on the need for a comprehensive and long-term scientific strategy to accelerate research and facilitate innovation at EU level. It is our belief that describing and analyzing the process leading to the creation of the ERC and SPH (2002-2014) should be widely shared with the research community in general, as this may contribute to the understanding of the evolving relations between scientists and science-policy making.
Project description:Biodiversity loss and climate change are both globally significant issues that must be addressed through collaboration across countries and disciplines. With the December 2015 COP21 climate conference in Paris and the recent creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), it has become critical to evaluate the capacity for global research networks to develop at the interface between biodiversity and climate change. In the context of the European Union (EU) strategy to stand as a world leader in tackling global challenges, the European Commission has promoted ties between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in science, technology and innovation. However, it is not clear how these significant interactions impact scientific cooperation at the interface of biodiversity and climate change. We looked at research collaborations between two major regions-the European Research Area (ERA) and LAC-that addressed both biodiversity and climate change. We analysed the temporal evolution of these collaborations, whether they were led by ERA or LAC teams, and which research domains they covered. We surveyed publications listed on the Web of Science that were authored by researchers from both the ERA and LAC and that were published between 2003 and 2013. We also run similar analyses on other topics and other continents to provide baseline comparisons. Our results revealed a steady increase in scientific co-authorships between ERA and LAC countries as a result of the increasingly complex web of relationships that has been weaved among scientists from the two regions. The ERA-LAC co-authorship increase for biodiversity and climate change was higher than those reported for other topics and for collaboration with other continents. We also found strong differences in international collaboration patterns within the LAC: co-publications were fewest from researchers in low- and lower-middle-income countries and most prevalent from researchers in emerging countries like Mexico and Brazil. Overall, interdisciplinary publications represented 25.8% of all publications at the interface of biodiversity and climate change in the ERA-LAC network. Further scientific collaborations should be promoted 1) to prevent less developed countries from being isolated from the global cooperation network, 2) to ensure that scientists from these countries are trained to lead visible and recognized biodiversity and climate change research, and 3) to develop common study models that better integrate multiple scientific disciplines and better support decision-making.
Project description:The aim of this paper is to present scientific perspectives from the science-policy interface in animal health and welfare, with an emphasis on factors critical to scientific effectiveness. While there is broad acceptance of the value of scientific information to inform policy-making, interactions at the science-policy interface are not without difficulties. The literature highlights the need for scientists to build policy relevance to the research focus from the outset, to engage with policy-makers and other stakeholders throughout, to use platforms to facilitate science-policy dialogue, and to disseminate research findings appropriately. In the author's experience, there are a range of factors linked with effectiveness at the science-policy interface in animal health and welfare including a passion for public interest research, scientific independence, a commitment to scientific quality and openness, the opportunities afforded from partnership and collaboration, and an interest in strategic thinking and systems change. In an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, an objective evidence base for policy decision-making is more important than ever. There is a need for particular attention to the value of collaboration between the natural and social sciences, a recognition among scientists and policy-makers that science is not value-free, the importance of effective communications, and the need to assess and communicate uncertainty. Further, there are particular challenges with science conducted in support of policy development for industry. It is hoped that this paper will stimulate and contribute to discussion and debate, both among scientists and between scientists and policy-makers, to increase scientific effectiveness at the science-policy interface in animal health and welfare.
Project description:Scientists working on ecosystem service (ES) science are engaged in a mission-driven discipline. They can contribute to science-policy interfaces where knowledge is co-produced and used. How scientists engage with the governance arena to mobilise their knowledge remains a matter of personal choice, influenced by individual values. ES science cannot be considered neutral and a discussion of the values that shape it forms an important part of the sustainability dialogue. We propose a simple decision tree to help ES scientists identify their role and the purpose of the knowledge they produce. We characterise six idealised scientific postures spanning possible roles at the science-policy interface (pure scientist, science arbiter-guarantor, issue advocate-guardian, officer, honest broker and stealth issue advocate) and illustrate them with feedbacks from interviews. We encourage ES scientists to conduct a reflexive exploration of their attitudes regarding knowledge production and use, with the intention of progressing toward a higher recognition of the political and ethical importance of ES assessments.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Can political controversy have a "chilling effect" on the production of new science? This is a timely concern, given how often American politicians are accused of undermining science for political purposes. Yet little is known about how scientists react to these kinds of controversies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Drawing on interview (n = 30) and survey data (n = 82), this study examines the reactions of scientists whose National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grants were implicated in a highly publicized political controversy. Critics charged that these grants were "a waste of taxpayer money." The NIH defended each grant and no funding was rescinded. Nevertheless, this study finds that many of the scientists whose grants were criticized now engage in self-censorship. About half of the sample said that they now remove potentially controversial words from their grant and a quarter reported eliminating entire topics from their research agendas. Four researchers reportedly chose to move into more secure positions entirely, either outside academia or in jobs that guaranteed salaries. About 10% of the group reported that this controversy strengthened their commitment to complete their research and disseminate it widely. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide evidence that political controversies can shape what scientists choose to study. Debates about the politics of science usually focus on the direct suppression, distortion, and manipulation of scientific results. This study suggests that scholars must also examine how scientists may self-censor in response to political events.
Project description:Is it appropriate for scientists to engage in political advocacy? Some political critics of scientists argue that scientists have become partisan political actors with self-serving financial agendas. However, most scientists strongly reject this view. While social scientists have explored the effects of science politicization on public trust in science, little empirical work directly examines the drivers of scientists' interest in and willingness to engage in political advocacy. Using a natural experiment involving the U.S. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRF), we causally estimate for the first time whether scientists who have received federal science funding are more likely to engage in both science-related and non-science-related political behaviors. Comparing otherwise similar individuals who received or did not receive NSF support, we find that scientists' preferences for political advocacy are not shaped by receiving government benefits. Government funding did not impact scientists' support of the 2017 March for Science nor did it shape the likelihood that scientists donated to either Republican or Democratic political groups. Our results offer empirical evidence that scientists' political behaviors are not motivated by self-serving financial agendas. They also highlight the limited capacity of even generous government support programs to increase civic participation by their beneficiaries.
Project description:Bibliometric mapping of scientific articles based on keywords and technical terms in abstracts is now frequently used to chart scientific fields. In contrast, no significant mapping has been applied to the full texts of non-specialist documents. Editorials in Nature and Science are such non-specialist documents, reflecting the views of the two most read scientific journals on science, technology and policy issues. We use the VOSviewer mapping software to chart the topics of these editorials. A term map and a document map are constructed and clusters are distinguished in both of them. The validity of the document clustering is verified by a manual analysis of a sample of the editorials. This analysis confirms the homogeneity of the clusters obtained by mapping and augments the latter with further detail. As a result, the analysis provides reliable information on the distribution of the editorials over topics, and on differences between the journals. The most striking difference is that Nature devotes more attention to internal science policy issues and Science more to the political influence of scientists. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11192-010-0205-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Project description:The Natura 2000 network is regarded as one of the conservation success stories in the global effort to protect biodiversity. However, significant challenges remain in Natura 2000 implementation, owing to its rapid expansion, and lack of a coherent vision for its future. Scientific research is critical for identifying conservation priorities, setting management goals, and reconciling biodiversity protection and society in the complex political European landscape. Thus, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive evaluation of published Natura 2000 research to highlight prevalent research themes, disciplinary approaches, and spatial entities. We conducted a systematic review of 572 scientific articles and conference proceedings focused on Natura 2000 research, published between 1996 and 2014. We grouped these articles into 'ecological' and 'social and policy' categories. Using a novel application of network analysis of article keywords, we found that Natura 2000 research forms a cohesive small-world network, owing to the emphasis on ecological research (79% of studies, with a strong focus on spatial conservation planning), and the underrepresentation of studies addressing 'social and policy' issues (typically focused on environmental impact assessment, multi-level governance, agri-environment policy, and ecosystem services valuation). 'Ecological' and 'social and policy' research shared only general concepts (e.g., Natura 2000, Habitats Directive) suggesting a disconnection between these disciplines. The UK and the Mediterranean basin countries dominated Natura 2000 research, and there was a weak correlation between number of studies and proportion of national territory protected. Approximately 40% of 'social and policy' research and 26% of 'ecological' studies highlighted negative implications of Natura 2000, while 21% of studies found positive social and biodiversity effects. We emphasize the need for designing inter- and transdisciplinary research in order to promote a social-ecological understanding of Natura 2000, and advance EU conservation policies.
Project description:Improving laboratory animal science and welfare requires both new scientific research and insights from research in the humanities and social sciences. Whilst scientific research provides evidence to replace, reduce and refine procedures involving laboratory animals (the '3Rs'), work in the humanities and social sciences can help understand the social, economic and cultural processes that enhance or impede humane ways of knowing and working with laboratory animals. However, communication across these disciplinary perspectives is currently limited, and they design research programmes, generate results, engage users, and seek to influence policy in different ways. To facilitate dialogue and future research at this interface, we convened an interdisciplinary group of 45 life scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars, non-governmental organisations and policy-makers to generate a collaborative research agenda. This drew on methods employed by other agenda-setting exercises in science policy, using a collaborative and deliberative approach for the identification of research priorities. Participants were recruited from across the community, invited to submit research questions and vote on their priorities. They then met at an interactive workshop in the UK, discussed all 136 questions submitted, and collectively defined the 30 most important issues for the group. The output is a collaborative future agenda for research in the humanities and social sciences on laboratory animal science and welfare. The questions indicate a demand for new research in the humanities and social sciences to inform emerging discussions and priorities on the governance and practice of laboratory animal research, including on issues around: international harmonisation, openness and public engagement, 'cultures of care', harm-benefit analysis and the future of the 3Rs. The process outlined below underlines the value of interdisciplinary exchange for improving communication across different research cultures and identifies ways of enhancing the effectiveness of future research at the interface between the humanities, social sciences, science and science policy.
Project description:Introduction:Scientific discoveries over the past few decades have provided significant insight into the abuse liability and negative health consequences associated with tobacco and nicotine-containing products. While many of these advances have led to the development of policies and laws that regulate access to and formulations of these products, further research is critical to guide future regulatory efforts, especially as novel nicotine-containing products are introduced and selectively marketed to vulnerable populations. Discussion:In this narrative review, we provide an overview of the scientific findings that have impacted regulatory policy and discuss considerations for further translation of science into policy decisions. We propose that open, bidirectional communication between scientists and policy makers is essential to develop transformative preventive- and intervention-focused policies and programs to reduce appeal, abuse liability, and toxicity of the products. Conclusions:Through these types of interactions, collaborative efforts to inform and modify policy have the potential to significantly decrease the use of tobacco and alternative nicotine products and thus enhance health outcomes for individuals. Implications:This work addresses current topics in the nicotine and tobacco research field to emphasize the importance of basic science research and provide examples of how it can be utilized to inform public policy. In addition to relaying current thoughts on the topic from experts in the field, the article encourages continued efforts and communication between basic scientists and policy officials.
Project description:While scientific uncertainty always invites the risk of politicization and raises questions of how to communicate about science, this risk is magnified for COVID-19. The limited data and accelerated research timelines mean that some prominent models or findings inevitably will be overturned or retracted. In this research, we examine the attitudes of more than 6000 Americans across five different survey experiments to understand how the cue giver and cue given about scientific uncertainty regarding COVID-19 affect public trust in science and support for science-based policy. Criticism from Democratic political elites undermines trust more than criticism from Republicans. Emphasizing uncertainty in projections can erode public trust in some contexts. Downplaying uncertainty can raise support in the short term, but reversals in projections may temper these effects or even reduce scientific trust. Careful science communication is critical to maintaining public support for science-based policies as the scientific consensus shifts over time.