ALLEA Awarded H2020 Project on Public Trust in Expertise

PEriTiA (Policy, Expertise and Trust in Action) will explore the conditions under which people trust science and expertise used by governments and other societal decision-makers to inform their policies.

The multi-disciplinary Horizon 2020-funded project will be coordinated by University College Dublin (UCD) and co-led by ALLEA. It is a follow up of the ALLEA Truth, Trust and Expertise Working Group and the UCD project When Experts Disagree (WEXD).

Its main goal is to test how emotions and values influence the process of placing or refusing trust in expertise that shapes public policies. In a coordinated action of various qualitative and quantitative investigations, it will assess its conceptual and empirical framework with the exemplary case of climate science. Its final aim is to help building trustworthy and trust-enhancing narratives about the role of science in governance.

The initiative is funded by the EU research and innovation programme H2020 with €3 million for 3 years, starting in February 2020.

Policy, Expertise and Trust

Public trust in expertise plays a central role in democracy, but the rise of anti-elitist narratives and populist politics, among other factors, have put the credibility of experts into question.

In its discussion paper series, ALLEA examines different aspects of this topic including the alleged loss of trust in science and expertise, the role of the changing landscape of communication, and trust within science itself. PEriTiA will take a further step and explore some unanswered questions derived from this work.

“Given the central role assigned to expert bodies and organisations in social and political governance, (justified) trust in the information provided by scientific bodies and advisory organisations, by both the general public and policy makers, is a fundamental condition of good governance,” said Project Coordinator Maria Baghramian on UCD’s website, who has been an active part of the ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust and Expertise and member of the Royal Irish Academy.

“Our aim, in this project, is to better understand the nature and conditions of trust in the public domain and to discover indicators which can be used in measuring and establishing the trustworthiness of those involved in social and political decision making,” she added.

Engaging the public in a cross-cutting collaboration

PEriTiA will bring together philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations to carry on a comprehensive multi-disciplinary research.

The collaboration will use innovative formats to conduct and disseminate its research including podcasts, citizens’ and experts’ fora across Europe and an essay competition addressed to young students.

In addition to ALLEA and UCD, the consortium consists of various partners from across Europe including University of Oslo (Norway), Institut Jean Nicod (France), Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Italy), American University of Armenia (Armenia), Sense About Science (UK), King’s College London (UK), Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and Strane Innovation (France).

Introducing ALLEA’s New Image and Website

Profesor Antonio Loprieno, President of ALLEA.

Dear ALLEA members and friends,

As you are well aware, the year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of ALLEA. This is a good moment to not only reflect on our history and celebrate our past achievements, but also to map out the path we want to follow. To that end, we determined that our 25th anniversary would be a great opportunity to revitalise our look, refurbish our online presence, and to set our future priorities.

We are therefore thrilled to announce that ALLEA is officially launching a brand-new corporate image which, we feel, better reflects ALLEA’s evolution, values and vision for the future as outlined in ALLEA’s Strategic Priorities 2019-2024.

We are particularly excited to present the new ALLEA website to you. The redesign process was carried out by making you, the members and visitors, our primary consideration. We want to make ALLEA’s virtual space as user-friendly, informative and accessible as possible. The result is for you to judge. Please peruse it at your leisure!

We would also like to introduce the latest issue of ALLEA’s newsletter. This issue focuses on the celebrations and outcomes of our 25th anniversary in Bern last May, and features our latest discussion paper, upcoming events, and new SAPEA reports, among other issues.

Enjoy the read!

Kind regards,

Antonio Loprieno
President of ALLEA


To the ALLEA Newsletter

Making Sense of Science: How to Deal with Complexity and Scientific Uncertainty

SAPEA’s most recent Evidence Review Report titled “Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty” seeks to tackle the challenge of delivering high-quality scientific policy advice under circumstances of social complexity and scientific uncertainty.

Science advice to today’s policymakers has become more prominent than ever, due primarily to the growing human impact on our world, and the ever-increasing complexity of the knowledge needed for coping with economic, social and environmental challenges. Yet how can we provide good science advice to European Commission policymakers based on available evidence under conditions of scientific complexity and  uncertainty?

This is the driving question of SAPEA’s latest report, which addresses the ever-present dilemma that the issues for which scientific input is most needed by policymakers are also the issues for which the science is most often complex, multidisciplinary and incomplete.

The report concludes, among other things, that:

  • Science advice can help to anticipate future challenges and assist in designing coping strategies or interventions.
  • The focus of science advice must be on a critical review of the available evidence and its implications for policymaking.
  • Scientific advice should not prescribe but inform policies.
  • The purpose and significance of scientific advice depend on the issue and the context.
  • The effectiveness of scientific advice depends on the right composition of advisors and the quality of the dialogue between advisors and policymakers.
  • Scientists, as well as policymakers, should be sensitive to various biases and interests when drawing inferences from data and information.

An Executive Summary of the report can be accessed here, while the full report is available here.

Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty is the fifth Evidence Review Report to be published by the SAPEA consortium, an integral part of the European Scientific Advice Mechanism.



Democracy in a Digital Society: Trust, Evidence and Public Discourse in a Changing Media Environment

A Year in Review: ALLEA Annual Report released

We are proud to publish ALLEA’s Annual Report 2018/2019.

This document compiles an overview of our activities from May 2018 to April 2019 and takes a look back even further to commemorate our 25th anniversary. We reflect on this quarter century of our federation in the context of the transformations that occurred in the science policy society interface in Europe. ALLEA’s past Presidents and European partners share with us their thoughts on these 25 years of scientific cooperation.

Enjoy the read!

ALLEA’s reaction to the Parliament’s bill concerning the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

On 2 July 2019 the Hungarian Parliament has passed a bill which will strip the Hungarian Academy of Sciences of its research institutes and thereby will transfer the academy’s research capacities to the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) under the supervision of the Hungarian Ministry of Innovation and Technology. The decision was made despite stark resistance from within the Hungarian science system as well as from European science organisations, including ALLEA, and is widely considered to be another decision by the Hungarian government to infringe on the freedom of science and research.

ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno said:

“We are worried by the Hungarian government’s attack on academic freedom, which threatens the autonomy of science and thus puts innovation at risk. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences has engaged in good faith and constructively with the government, which instead has chosen to disregard months of dialogue and efforts. As the federation of European academies, ALLEA will back our member academy and all Hungarian scientists and work with them and other international partners to defend science from populist pressures.”

The bill, which still awaits ratification by the country’s President, stipulates that not only the research institutes are handed over to ELKH, but also that the academy makes available their premises and equipment without compensation.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences has made it clear that this bill is in opposition to basic European funding principles and poses a serious danger to the academic freedom of the institution as well as to the researchers working within this new network.

ALLEA and the academies within the federation deeply oppose such infringements and reject the claim of the Hungarian government that the ELKH will produce more innovative science.


Read previous ALLEA statements on this matter here:

ALLEA, EUA and Science Europe joint statement on academic freedom and institutional autonomy (April 2019)

ALLEA reinforces its calls to protect the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (February 2019)

ALLEA open letter in support of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (June 2018)


Academies call for a sustainable European data governance approach

The ALLEA/Royal Society Discussion Paper ‘Flourishing in a data-enabled society’ examines how a European approach to data governance can unlock the full potential of data-based technologies, while at the same time safeguarding European values.

SAPEA Report: The challenges of ageing must be faced by the young


A new SAPEA report looks into the future of ageing. It reviews the best evidence available and assesses how different public policy options might help EU countries to achieve inclusive, fair and sustainable health and social care in the future.

Society must tackle the challenges presented by ageing in every generation – not leave them until old age. This is the key conclusion of a major new Evidence Review Report entitled Transforming the Future of Ageing, published today by SAPEA.

The report is destined for the desks of the new European Commissioners expected to take office later in 2019. It reviews the best evidence on what public policies might help EU countries to achieve inclusive, fair and sustainable health and social care in the future.

The authors, leading scientists nominated by academies across Europe, conclude that the ageing process needs to be transformed – and that the best way to improve life outcomes in old age is to anticipate and tackle them in youth and middle age.

Among the report’s other headline conclusions are:
• Ageing in the future will take place in a very different context from the past and will be profoundly affected by phenomena such as climate change, air pollution and antibiotic resistance, as well as ongoing social changes. Policies will only be successful if they are able to accommodate these changes.
• Age-friendly communities enable older people to feel secure and to go about their daily life comfortably. Architects, urban planners, experts in mobility and ergonomics, social care experts and geriatricians must cooperate to make age-friendly communities the norm.
• Technology, including wearable and assistive devices and the advent of AI, is already changing the experience of ageing, and could transform it if barriers of acceptance and practicality can be overcome.

Further information and the report itself are available on SAPEA’s website.

International Symposium on the Future of Learned Academies

On 12-14 June 2019, the American Philosophical Society (APS) held the Public Keynote ‘International Symposium on the Future of Learned Academies’ as the closing event of its 275th anniversary celebration. ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno joined other renowned scholars from nearly 30 academies from around the world to discuss the major challenges and opportunities facing scientific institutions in the current political, economic, and social context.

The symposium consisted of an International Keynote Panel held at the APS’ Franklin Hall on June 13 to highlight major challenges to the scholarly and scientific enterprise. The Panel was chaired by CEO of The New York Times Company, Mark Thompson, and the panellists included ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno, Ali Alpar from Bilim Akademisi  (Turkey), James Liao from Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Marcia McNutt from the National Academy of Sciences (United States), and Moneef Zou’bi from the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (Jordan).

Five different sessions about distinct aspects and components of Learned Academies today were led by the panellists on June 14, with Professor Loprieno leading session one on the issue of Academies’ Membership. You may see the full programme of the symposium here.

A livestream of the public keynote event on the evening of June 13 can be seen in full here.