SAPEA Science for policy podcast

In September, SAPEA – one of ALLEA’s flagship projects – launched a series of podcasts on science advice for policy. Invited experts and science advice practitioners reflect on how far we should rely on science to make political decisions,  what makes a good science advisor, what to do when the evidence is incomplete or controversial,  what happens when science advice goes wrong,  and other questions on science-policy interactions.

So far, six episodes have been published. They feature:

  • Clarissa Rios Rojas, a research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge.
  • Mark Walport, a member of the SAGE committee, and former chief scientific advisor to the UK.
  • Vladimír Šucha and Marta Sienkiewicz, editors of the Joint Research Centre’s new science advice handbook.
  • Bart Koelmans, a chair of the advisory groups on microplastics pollution for the UN and EU.
  • Rolf Heuer and Pearl Dykstra, respectively the chair and deputy chair of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.
  • Peter Gluckman, the chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice, and a former chief science advisor to New Zealand.

The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.

Europe on test: the onus of the past – conference publication

The Polish Academy of Sciences published a book based on the contributions to the 2019 ALLEA conference organized at its Institute of Philosophy and Sociology in Warsaw.

The texts collected in this volume focus on the Central-Eastern part of the European Union. The countries of this area still experience effects of their dependence on the Soviet Union and decades of authoritarian rules. These effects are clashing with the memory of the end of unwanted communist experiment, due to successful popular uprising and favorable international situation. The publication examines how the recent past of former “communist” states affects their performance in the integrating Europe, points out the problems of national and European identity, the question of solidarity and perception of interests.

“Europe on Test: Narratives of Union and Disunion” is a series of conferences under the patronage of ALLEA and hosted by selected Academies of Sciences and Humanities in various European cities. It seeks to address recent political developments and other aspects of relevance that may pose a challenge for the future of Europe as a community.

ALLEA welcomes Bonn Declaration on Freedom of Scientific Research

On 20 October the EU research ministers at a Ministerial Conference on the European Research Area adopted the Bonn Declaration on Freedom of Scientific Research, thereby strengthening the protection of academic freedom in Europe. 

Enabling scientists and researchers to follow their research interests freely and unimpeded by political constraints is one of the core principles of the European Union and ALLEA is delighted to see a strong commitment by the EU Member States to continue standing up for these rights. 

 The Bonn Declaration is an important step in the right direction. In the recent past, the European research community has endured clear infringements on academic freedom. This declaration is a sign that we can no longer stand idly by and continue business as usual and makes a clear connection between trust in science and its independence. It is important to stress that academic freedom also involves the responsibility of the research community to openly communicate their findings not only to their peers, but also to the wider public”, says ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno. 

ALLEA, together with its Member Academies, has been a proponent of stronger safety mechanisms for academic freedom for a long time and has worked with other relevant stakeholders in the area to speak with one voice for the research community. 

Read the Bonn Declaration here.

Current issues in science education; three ALLEA webinars

ALLEA and its Science Education Working Group invite to three upcoming webinars related to current issues in science education:

  • Public Webinar on Climate Change Education, co-organised by ALLEA and Royal Irish Academy  on 24 November 2020
  • An expert roundtable discussion on International Large-Scale Studies of Achievement (by invitation only) on 21 January 2021
  • Public  webinar entitled  “From STEM to STEAM Education ” in Spring 2021.

These events forerun a physical conference which was initially planned for January 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The conference is envisaged to be held later in 2021 if conditions allow, and will be hosted by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine UNESCO Center for Science Education and the National Academy of Educational Sciences, supported by the Polish Academy of Sciences via its Representative Office in Kyiv.

Job offer: Communications officer (part-time)

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, is currently seeking a

 

Communications Officer

 

to join its team in Berlin as soon as possible for the duration of two years (target starting date: 1 December 2020). This is a part-time position at 50% FTE with possible increase of hours over the course of employment. 

 

Role and responsibilities

Together with other members of the communications team

  • Develop, implement and monitor ALLEA communications strategies and plans;
  • Produce, manage and disseminate effective communications tools and activities (publications, websites, social media, newsletters, and other materials),
  • Create and edit content for websites, brochures, news articles, press releases, opinion pieces and other publications, and prepare layout, format and graphic design of these products;
  • Contribute to preparing and managing events, including conferences, stakeholder workshops, webinars and online meetings.

Skills and experience

  • Academic degree to undergraduate level in a relevant subject (ideally in e.g. communications studies, journalism, graphic design, marketing) or at least 2-3 years equivalent professional experience;
  • Fluency in English (ideally English native-speaker), with excellent writing skills; German or other foreign language skills are an asset;
  • Experience in managing social media profiles;
  • Good knowledge of Adobe Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator;
  • Knowledge and experience in using CMS and databases (especially WordPress);
  • Experience in organising events (physical, hybrid, digital) is welcome;
  • Experience in science publishing is an asset;
  • Ability to work independently and in a team;
  • A quick learner and team player with keen eye for detail and who appreciates working in an international team and environment;
  • Interest in the areas of expertise of ALLEA (international relations, scientific collaboration, science communications, research policy, scientific advice to policymaking, etc.).

Why join us

ALLEA is the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, representing more than 50 academies from over 40 EU and non-EU countries. ALLEA operates at the interface of science, policy and society and speaks out on behalf of its members to promote science as a global public good.

You will be part of a multi-cultural, young, and dynamic team working in the centre of Berlin and help ALLEA reach international stakeholders on societally relevant scientific topics. As a not-for-profit organisation, our working environment is informal and collegial, and our team shares a dedication to work for a common greater good.

This position offers the flexibility of combining working in the office and remotely. Remuneration will depend on the level of previous experience and qualifications and correspond to TV-L 10 or 11 of the German civil service pay scale.

ALLEA is an equal opportunity employer. For more information about us, please visit www.allea.org and/or follow us on Twitter @ALLEA_academies.

How to apply

If you are interested, please submit your digital application with a cover letter, CV, an example of a short written text (in English) and a sample of a graphic design work, relevant corresponding certificates as one single PDF document (3 MB max) to recruitment@allea.org by 8 November 2020.

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews in the following weeks.

Download the job post here.

Who to trust on Covid-19?

ALLEA is pleased to announce the PERITIA webinar ‘Who to trust on Covid-19: When science advice gets “dirty” in the political mud’. The event will take place on 2 November (14:00-15:00 CET) and is part of the Berlin Science Week. Registration is already open.

The one-hour Q&A webinar will delve into the impact of this pandemic on trust in expertise with a particular focus on three questions:

  • What lessons can we draw from the handling of the pandemic for understanding trust in policy-driven expertise?
  • How have different countries dealt with the delicate enterprise of communicating and relying on uncertain and evolving evidence and advice in extremely difficult times?
  • Is a loss of public trust in expertise the “collateral damage” of this crisis or are people trusting experts more than before?

PERITIA experts will join the discussion with Dr Shane Bergin, who will moderate an interactive debate where participants will lead the questions of the roundtable. The speakers include:

Prof Maria Baghramian
Professor of American Philosophy at University College Dublin
PERITIA Lead Investigator

Tracey Brown
Director of Sense about Science

Prof José van Dijck
Professor of Media Studies at University of Utrecht

Prof Bobby Duffy
Director of The Policy Institute at King’s College London

Dr Carlo Martini
Assistant Professsor of Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

PERITIA is an EU-funded research project and ALLEA is part of the consortium. The project explores the conditions under which people trust expertise used for shaping public policy. It brings together philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations to conduct a comprehensive multi-disciplinary investigation of trust in and the trustworthiness of policy related expert opinion.

ALLEA at the Berlin Science Week

With its first public webinar, ALLEA will contribute to the major conference, which takes place annually in Berlin and this year also digitally. A webinar “It’s complicated…” Europe facing cultural memories and nationalist sentiments will feature Joep Leerssen, 2020 Laureate of the ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values. 

ALLEA supports the International Year of Basic Sciences of Sustainable Development 2022

ALLEA is proud to support the initiative International Year of Basic Sciences of Sustainable Development 2022, which aims to highlight the links between basic sciences and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to facilitate a dialogue between the stakeholders and raise the importance of basic sciences.

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Agenda 2030, an integrated vision to enable sustainable development across the globe. The goals of the Agenda 2030 are closely intertwined with the SDGs. Science has a lot to contribute to achieving SDGs such as affordable and clean energy, climate action, or access to clean water and sanitation.

The initiative highlights that “a basic understanding of natural phenomena, and of those generated by human imagination and organization, is essential for the implementation of Agenda 2030”.

Based on a recommendation adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, the UN General Assembly will be voting on whether to proclaim 2022 the International Year of Basic Sciences of Sustainable Development at their meeting in November.

More information on the IYBSSD here.

ALLEA contributes to European Commission’s consultation on the European Research Area

ALLEA submitted a response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the future of the European Research Area (ERA). This initiative seeks to relaunch and revitalize the ERA and make it better able to address major challenges such as the green and digital transitions, or the COVID-19 crisis.

In its position, ALLEA supports continuous ambition “to broaden the ERA’s outreach and connectivity by promoting open science and research mobility within and beyond its borders, as well as access to research facilities and collections”.

“As innovation is not restricted to technological and economic growth but also concerns social and cultural adaption, it is critical to broaden the remit of the ERA and that Union programmes consider societal values, including fairness/equality, resilience/sustainability, diversity, openness, transparency and trustworthiness,” the contribution states.

The statement points out that “the core of the EU network remains mainly composed of EU-15 participants, with only a restricted number of institutions acting as hubs. Systematic efforts and specific mechanisms are required to encourage researchers across the career cycle and participants from EU-13 and Associated countries to actively shape the EU-wide networks across the ERA.”

The consultation was closed on 3 August and all stakeholder contributions are available here.

Read ALLEA’s contribution.

Fact or fake? New ALLEA project on tackling science disinformation

ALLEA is pleased to announce the launch of a new project, “Fact or Fake”, aimed at tackling science disinformation. The initiative will identify and discuss the root causes leading to science-averse attitudes in European countries, particularly focusing on disinformation campaigns on Covid-19, climate change, and vaccinations.

The project is led by a scientific committee composed of a multidisciplinary group of experts from across Europe. Its chair is Dan Larhammar, President of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The scientific committee will:

  • Promote exchanges and linkages among research, policy, science and communications and media communities on practices and approaches to tackling science disinformation.
  • Develop strategies to address the loss of confidence and trust in scientific evidence.
  • Provide guidance to scientists, science communicators, journalists and policymakers in appropriate ways to navigate and address the issue of science disinformation.

The outcome of the project is aimed to address both the recipients and the creators of science disinformation, examining the problem through a multi-disciplinary lens. Target audiences include researchers and research institutions, science communication practitioners and journalists, as well as policymakers at the national and European levels. 

The project is supported by  Compagnia di San Paolo and builds upon ALLEA-related activities such as ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust and Expertise  and the Horizon 2020 project PERITIA, which explores the conditions under which people trust expertise used for shaping public policy.