Roger Pielke “Following the Science? The Use of Science Advice in Policy”
The COVID 19 pandemic has brought to prominence claims that specific policies are “guided by the science” or that policy should “follow the science”. However, it is often not possible to draw a simple or direct line from scientific research to policy implications. In many cases there is considerable uncertainty or disagreement in existing scientific research and knowledge. Policy decisions will also depend on the specific objectives, and different concerns may often be in tension with one another. For many issues, the key values and relative weight that should be given to different priorities are hotly disputed.
Professor Roger Pielke (University of Colorado) is a leading scholar on the relationship between science and policy, and author of The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics. His book examines how factors such as a lack of consensus over values and greater uncertainty can create challenges in science informing policy, and how distinguishing more clearly between science, policy and politics can allow us to better integrate scientific knowledge and stakeholder concerns in policy decision making. He has been awarded a grant from the US National Science Foundation to compare science advice and policy responses in the COVID 19 pandemic across a range of countries. This lecture will draw on examples from his new research on COVID 19 responses, but it will also consider science advice and policy decision making more generally.
Prof. Pielke’s lectures will be followed by brief commentaries by two leading experts in science advice and policy, and opportunities for questions from the audience.
Sir Bernard Jenkin is the MP for Harwich and North Essex (since 1992) and Chairman of the Liaison Committee, which considers general matters relating to the work of select committees in the UK House of Commons. He has written on the lessons for the COVID 19 pandemic and calls for reform of UK policymaking and the civil service.
Dr Camilla Stoltenberg is Director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, a research institute and government agency providing advice to national authorities and the public. Norway has had relatively low infection rates and deaths during the COVID 19 pandemic compared to other European countries.
The event will be chaired by Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, Regius Professor of Political Science, University of Essex.
The event will be accessible to a general audience and open to the general public. Due to the present COVID 19 pandemic the event will be online. Interested participants will need to register in advance.