We must step out of our comfort zone and seek out dialogue with the general public

Günter Stock, ALLEA President and 2017 Chairman of the SAPEA Board, reflects on the first year of SAPEA, the future of science advice in Europe and the need for better engagement with the public.


What was the main focus of your chairmanship of SAPEA?

GÜNTER STOCK: I have had the honour and challenge to chair the first year of operations of SAPEA, which to me meant to set the ship on the right course from the very beginning. Most important to me was that for all SAPEA activities the highest scientific standards are applied, and the brightest minds can work together knowing that their contributions will be heard and made use of. As such we put an emphasis on quality assurance and on developing universally applicable structures for the creation of our reports. At the same time it was important to me to start early with our public engagement formats and in the past year we put on several events on different topics across the continent with the help of our academies.


What are the main lessons learned from the first year of SAPEA?

G.S: One of the most important lessons was that in such a complex environment, at the interface of science, policy, and the public you will never stop learning new lessons. Few things are as obvious as they may seem and many of the projects we are involved in are the results of intense yet well-intended discussions. It is possible to disagree on a matter as long as your argument has the scientific merit to back it up. Yet, in the end, the products SAPEA puts out always manage to portray in detail the complexities of the given topic including different scientific views, and this is really what a discursive way of working should achieve


“Scientists must actively push to be providers of goal-directed and solution-oriented science advice, otherwise they might easily be overlooked”


How do you think scientists, researchers and academies can improve their role in the provision of science advice?

G.S:In my opinion the most important factor for scientists to make their voice heard is to show a willingness to put their research out there in a comprehensible manner for the layman and to make very clear what the implications of their research are and which effects it might have. We must step out of our comfort zone where fellow scientists discuss with us and actively seek out dialogue with the general public. If scientists can achieve that, their input will be considered necessary to be included in policy-making. In other words: scientists must actively push to be providers of goal-directed and solution-oriented science advice, otherwise they might easily be overlooked.


This interview was originally published in ALLEA Newsletter Issue #14: March 2018 | Loss of Trust in Science and Expertise?

ALLEA Becomes Knowledge Partner of Re-Imagine Europa

Re-Imagine Europa (RIE) and ALLEA will work together on areas of common interest, particularly on the topic “Democracy in a Post-Factual Reality”

As a Knowledge Partner, ALLEA will support the efforts of RIE and contribute knowledge and academic resources to RIE’s programmes and projects, with particular focus on the programme looking at “Democracy in a Post-Factual Reality”, which will touch on themes such as evidence-based policy making, citizen engagement processes, the effect of digital transformation of communication processes and trust, changing patterns of participatory processes, etc.

 About Re-Imagine Europa

Set up by former French President Giscard d’Estaing and made up of an inclusive group of individuals, organisations and institutions, Re-Imagine Europa focuses on developing a vision for a more integrated Europe as part of the solution to address 21st century global challenges. RIE plans to work with partners like ALLEA to carry out interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral research, dialogue facilitation and engagement with national and transnational political processes to help reinforce Europe’s role as a global economic power in the 21st century able to safeguard a prosperous future of peace, freedom and social justice for all its citizens. Re-Imagine Europa will have its public launch on the 11th of April.

For more information about Re-Imagine Europa and its activities, visit their website at www.reimagine-europa.eu

Call for Videos: #TrustingScience in 1 Minute

Join us in an online brainstorming session to gather views, voices and ideas on the state and the role of science in times of challenged trust and expertise. Tell us why you think we should or should not trust science based on your personal experiences. To do so, post, tweet (#TrustingScience) or send us a 1-minute video responding to one or more of the following questions.

Is there a loss of trust in science and expertise?

  • In your experience, is there any sign or example that you would consider an indication for a loss of trust in science?
  • Can you think of a situation in which you have managed or failed to build trust in your research?




How can science maintain/(re-)gain trust?

  • Based on your professional experience, what could and should be done to make science trustworthy?




(How) do new forms of communication challenge trust in expertise? 

  • Tell us about an example on how social media or other forms of communication have influenced the dissemination of your research.




Why do we need a debate on trust in science?

  • Why do you think it is important to reflect on trust in science and expertise?




How will your video be used?

The video will be disseminated via ALLEA’s communications platforms. It will thus be part of the ongoing discussion on the alleged loss of trust in science and expertise. Your video may also be presented at ALLEA’s symposium “Science in Times of Challenged Trust and Expertise” during ALLEA’s General Assembly in Sofia (Bulgaria) on 16 May 2018 at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Find more information here: alleageneralassembly.org

How to record the video

  • The video should not be longer than 1 minute.
  • If you wish to respond to all questions in greater length, you can of course record separate videos on each question. Please keep the duration of each video to 1 minute.
  • Please send your video via a video or sharing platform (e.g. Dropbox, WeTransfer, Youtube) to communications@allea.org, stating the following information:
    • Your full name
    • Your position
    • Your organisation
    • Your discipline or area of work
    • If you want us to share your Twitter account when publishing the video, please indicate your Twitter name.
  • If you prefer to use a different channel, please feel free to contact us.


Enter the discussion now!

Watch our full video series “Truth, Trust and Expertise”



The above video series was filmed during the ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust and Expertise Workshop in London at the British Academy on 19 February 2018. Learn more

Europe on Test: ALLEA Conference Series on European Narratives

In 2018, the ALLEA-coordinated conference series “Europe on Test: Narratives of Union and Disunion” will feature two prominent events in Germany and Finland respectively

On 20 October, the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities will bring together high-level speakers from policy and academia to discuss the conference theme “Germany and Europe, Self-Images and Foreign Perspectives”. On 14-15 November the Council of Finnish Academies will organise a two-day conference providing a “nordic perspective” on the series topic. “Europe on Test: Narratives of Union and Disunion” is a series of conferences hosted by selected academies of sciences and humanities in various European cities under the patronage of ALLEA.

The initiative started with a conference organised by the British Academy in London on November 2016. Throughout the conferences, renowned scholars deliberate and illuminate the significance of such narratives from a variety of different angles and within their national contexts, providing insights into how narratives shape the way we conceive Europe as a Union or Disunion.

The conferences are open to the public and everyone is invited to attend.


Health Inequalities Symposium: Registration is Now Open

Registration is now open for the international symposium “Health Inequalities – An Interdisciplinary Discussion of Socioeconomic Status, Health and Causality” to be held on 24 May 2018 at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam.

On 24 May 2018 the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) will host an international and interdisciplinary symposium on health inequalities in Amsterdam, targeted at researchers and experts from various scientific backgrounds as well as opinion-leaders and interested stakeholders.

The symposium is organised by the Scientific Committee on Health Inequalities, jointly established by ALLEA and FEAM (Federation of European Academies of Medicine), and seeks to examine methodological options to analyse the causal effects of socioeconomic disparities on public health. The committee will present a discussion paper reviewing the evidence and charting the main areas of scientific consensus and dissent, in order to facilitate a profound and much needed interdisciplinary discussion about causes and consequences of health inequalities and potential avenues to mitigate them.

Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory. Please visit the KNAW website for further information on this symposium.




Andrea Pető awarded the 2018 ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize

Andrea Pető, Professor at the Department of Gender Studies of the Central European University in Budapest (Hungary), honoured with ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize for her outstanding scholarly contribution on Europe’s gendered memory of the Second World War, the Holocaust and political extremism.

Professor Andrea Pető will be awarded the 2018 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values to honour her wide-ranging scholarly work on gender studies and European contemporary history. The Madame de Staël Prize Jury considered her research an exceptional contribution to shed light on Europe’s gendered memory of the Second World War, the Holocaust and political extremism. Pető will be the fifth scholar to be awarded the Prize, at the initiative of ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, with the co-sponsorship of the Italian foundation Compagnia di San Paolo.

The 20,000 EUR Prize will be awarded on the occasion of the ALLEA General Assembly at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia on 16 May 2018 and will be handed over by the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel.

The Prize was established to commemorate that despite variations in definition and geographical boundaries over the centuries, there has always been a deep-rooted understanding of European culture as connected by an inherent diversity supported by a dynamic and vigorous intellectualism.

Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the Prize jury said: “This year the Madame de Staël Prize Jury honours not only a celebrated and prolific scholar in East and Central European contemporary history, but also underlines the intellectual originality of Pető’s approach to investigate the intricacies of remembrance in Europe’s most conflictive history from a gender perspective”.

About Andrea Pető

Andrea Pető (Budapest, 1964) is Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at the Central European University in Budapest (Hungary) and a Doctor of Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Author of 5 monographs, editor of 31 volumes, as well as 261 articles and chapters in books published in seventeen languages. In 2005, she was awarded the Officer’s Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary by the President of the Hungarian Republic and the Bolyai Prize by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2006.

Her publications include Geschlecht, Politik und Stalinismus in Ungarn. Eine Biographie von Júlia Rajk (2007); Women in Hungarian Politics 1945-1951 (2003); Napasszonyok és Holdkisasszonyok. A mai magyar konzervatív női politizálás alaktana (2003), Interdisciplinary Handbook Gender: War (2017), Women and Holocaust: New Perspectives and Challenges (2015), co-authored with Louise Hecht and Karolina Krasuska; Gender and Far Right Politics in Europe (2016), co-authored with Michaela Köttig and Renate Bitzan; Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories. Feminist Conversations on War, Genocide and Political Violence (2016), co-authored with Ayşe Gül Altınay, and Political Justice in Budapest after World War II, co-authored with Ildikó Barna (2015), among others.

Press contact

For press inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Susana Irles, Communications officer

irles@allea.org | Tel +49 (0)30-3259873-72

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“Is there a loss of trust?”, asks ALLEA Working Group in first workshop

On 19 February the ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust & Expertise held its first thematic Workshop at the British Academy in London. Chaired by the resident Co-Chair of the Working Group Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve, this workshop discussed the central question whether there is a loss of trust and/ or trustworthiness in science and academic research.

ALLEA President Günter Stock welcomed the participants and thanked the British Academy, the Co-Chairs and the members of the Working Group for their engagement, emphasising extraordinary attention the topic attracts in (the?) public debate. The workshop was divided into three thematic sessions, each starting with input statements by two speakers, followed by group discussion. Participants discussed what is meant by trust, what counts as expertise, and what kinds of expertise can be distinguished. In addition, the function of trust in society and institutions, as well as the evidence, if any, of a loss of trust(worthiness) in expertise were explored.

The experts also discussed the various contexts in which trust and trustworthiness exist and how trust can be nurtured and maintained. Major threads of the discussion, conclusions and remaining open questions will soon be published in a Discussion Paper. The findings will also feed into the debates of the scientific symposium “Science in times of Challenged Trust and Expertise”, which will take place on 16 May at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia during the ALLEA General Assembly.

Truth, Trust and Expertise

The ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust and Expertise is a transnational platform for perspectives on the nature of and relationship between truth, trust and expertise in the field of science. The expert group aims to interrogate and explore current and past dynamics of public trust in expertise and the contested norms of what constitutes truth, facts and evidence in scientific research and beyond.

Learn more about the workshop on our Truth, Trust and Expertise video series.


ALLEA General Assembly 2018: Registration is Now Open!


Visit General Assembly Website

Registration for the 2018 ALLEA General Assembly is now open! The conference will take place on 16-18 May 2018 in Sofia at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory for all attendees. Participants are requested to fill in this form. An email confirming your registration will be sent to you once the process is completed. If you are a representative of an ALLEA Member Academy, you are also kindly invited to register for ALLEA’s internal business meeting via the same registration form.


This year’s General Assembly is composed of three main parts open to the public. The conference programme will start with a light welcome lunch on 16 May at 11:30 and will continue with the opening of the scientific symposium “Science in Times of Challenged Trust and Expertise”, organised under the scientific guidance of the ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust and Expertise. Leading experts from a wide range of scientific fields will present and discuss the various notions of trust in science and expertise in the so-called “post-truth” era.

On the same evening, ALLEA will award its 2018 Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values. The European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel will hand over the Prize to the 2018 laureate, whose name will be announced in the coming weeks. Following the award ceremony, all participants are invited to join a festive cocktail reception at the National Archeological Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in close proximity of the meeting venue.

On the 17 May, the European Academies’ consortium SAPEA will organise the science-policy symposium “Shaping European Science Advice: Insights and Experiences”. The event will bring together scientists and policy-makers to analyse and discuss experiences and lessons learned from the European Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) and other science advice systems.

In the afternoon, ALLEA will convene its annual internal Business Meeting (restricted to ALLEA Member Academies’ representatives).

On the 18 May the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences offers to all participants a post-conference cultural programme. During a guided day trip, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the city of Plovdiv, the 2019 European Capital of Culture. A participation fee of 35-45 euros will be charged.


Please note that due to the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2018, a large number of international events will take place in Sofia simultaneously. As a consequence, there will be a high demand for hotel rooms during this period. We therefore strongly recommend to book accommodation as early as possible to ensure availability. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has kindly provided a list of pre-reserved hotels for participants of the ALLEA General Assembly. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Sofia!


The 2018 ALLEA General Assembly is co-organised and hosted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

International partners include the Italian foundation Compagnia di San Paolo, and the European academies consortium SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies).

The Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, representing the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, is the local partner of the conference. The event also takes place under the patronage of the Municipality of Sofia.