In the twenty-first century, we face extreme global challenges like climate change, population growth and widespread pollution, as well as contending with major change brought about by technological advances. As a result, science advice has consistently come to be regarded as a vital element in the overall evidence considered by policymakers. At the same time, policymakers are striving to make sense of scientific evidence that is most certainly complex, multifaceted and, quite often, at the very limits of what is known scientifically. It is against this backdrop that the European Group of Chief Scientific Advisers (GCSA) decided to address the question of how to provide good science advice to European Commission policymakers.
SAPEA was asked to undertake a comprehensive evidence review, which informs the Scientific Opinion of the GCSA. 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.
In drafting this report, SAPEA formed an outstanding working group of European experts from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds and countries. All were determined to bring together the many schools of thought on the topic, as well as their extensive practical experience in science advice, and to reach a position of consensus.