100 episodes

How far should we rely on science to make political decisions? What makes a good science advisor — or a good science advice system? What do we do when the evidence is incomplete or controversial? What happens when science advice goes wrong and how can we fix it? We explore these questions, and many more, in conversation with the researchers, policymakers and communicators who make science advice happen around the world.

The Science for Policy podcast is produced the Scientific Advice Mechanism to the European Commission and hosted by Toby Wardman. The many and varied opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests themselves. They do not necessarily represent the views of SAPEA or the European Commission.

Science for Policy Scientific Advice Mechanism

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

How far should we rely on science to make political decisions? What makes a good science advisor — or a good science advice system? What do we do when the evidence is incomplete or controversial? What happens when science advice goes wrong and how can we fix it? We explore these questions, and many more, in conversation with the researchers, policymakers and communicators who make science advice happen around the world.

The Science for Policy podcast is produced the Scientific Advice Mechanism to the European Commission and hosted by Toby Wardman. The many and varied opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests themselves. They do not necessarily represent the views of SAPEA or the European Commission.

    Episode 100: Live from Helsinki

    Episode 100: Live from Helsinki

    Welcome to our 100th episode! This one comes to you complete with a live audience at the University of Helsinki, kindly hosted by the SRI Congress 2024.
    Debating questions
    Warm-up debates:
    (1) We should get rid of daylight saving time.
    (2) How would a dog wear trousers? Hind legs only, or all four legs on the bottom half of its body?
    (3) In which order do you put on socks and shoes? Sock sock shoe shoe, or sock shoe sock shoe?
     
    Substantive debates:
    (1) Science advice organisations should welcome researchers who have connections to industry or campaign groups.
    (2) As a science advisor, I'm OK with my research being used by everyone in the policymaking process.
    (3) As a science advisor, it's OK to have private conversations with a policymaker.
    (4) As a science advisor, I should present only the evidence. Interpreting that evidence is the policymaker's job.
    (5) It's my duty as a scientist to lobby for changes in society, based on the evidence as I see it.
    (6) If a policymaker wants a simple answer from science, I should give them one.
    (7) When there isn't enough data for a robust evidence-based answer, I should give my best guess.
    (8) When scientists disagree on a controversial issue, I should present my own view on what the evidence says.
    (9) If the politicians make a decision which really goes against my advice, it's my duty to speak out publicly against it.
    (10) As a science advisor, I should try to present different stakeholder positions, such as those of affected communities.
     
    Resources mentioned in this episode
    SRI Congress 2024: https://sricongress.org/home/about-sri2024/
    The noble vibraslap, queen of percussion instruments: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibraslap
    Spotify playlist featuring the vibraslap: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3pXPF32AkTNcRfNswxnaWq?si=bdb62b8d74dd4151 

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Claudia Chwalisz on science and expertise in innovative forms of government

    Claudia Chwalisz on science and expertise in innovative forms of government

    There are many different ways to make policies, and many different ways for science and evidence to impact on those policies. In western liberal democracies, we tend to focus on our specific, forgetting that across the world and across history our specific way of doing things is not the only way.
     
    Claudia Chwalisz, from the think-tank DemocracyNext, has spent a lot of time thinking about alternative ways to govern our societies, especially when it comes to dealing with challenges that are scientifically or morally complex. In this episode, she talks to Toby Wardman about how alternative decision-making processes could work, and whether they would strengthen or change the roles of science, evidence and expertise in deliberation.
     
    Resources mentioned in this episode
    DemocracyNext: https://www.demnext.org/ 

    • 55 min
    Nicola Dotti on guidelines for science advice organisations

    Nicola Dotti on guidelines for science advice organisations

    In recent months, there's been a small explosion of guidelines and handbooks on how to do science advice. In today's episode, Toby Wardman takes a deep dive into Science Europe's recent guidance for research-funding and research-performing organisations, in conversation with their author, Nicola Dotti.

    • 38 min
    Andrea Emilio Rizzoli and Manuel Kugler on AI in science and science advice

    Andrea Emilio Rizzoli and Manuel Kugler on AI in science and science advice

    This is probably the last podcast in the world to get round to talking about how AI is changing the world -- but we wanted to wait until we had the right people in the room to talk specifically about AI in relation to science, policy, and science-for-policy. If you like this conversation with Professor Andrea Rizzoli and Manuel Kugler -- and you will like it! -- stay tuned in the coming months, because we've got more AI-themed episodes up our sleeves.

    • 51 min
    Caitlin Chin-Rothmann on misinformation, science and the media ecosystem

    Caitlin Chin-Rothmann on misinformation, science and the media ecosystem

    It's sometimes easy to forget that even the most well-designed science advice institution, and even the most persuasive advisor, are still operating as part of a broad ecosystem in which both policymakers and the general public are exposed to vast quantities of ostensibly factual information of varying quality, much of it mediated through algorithms. In this episode, Caitlin Chin-Rothmann from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC talks us through this broader context and how science advisors can adapt to it.

    • 35 min
    Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt on why context matters

    Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt on why context matters

    Why does evidence sometimes land and sometimes not? Why do some policies fail even though the evidence suggests they should succeed?  And what can we do about it? Saying "it's all about the context" is easy, but what does this actually mean? And more importantly, how can we make that into a useful insight in advance, rather than just a post-hoc justification for things not working out?
    Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt have looked into this question in some detail, and their organisation, Purpose & Ideas, created a framework to tackle exactly these questions. In this episode, they discuss with Toby Wardman of the SAM not just why context matters, but what that actually means and what we can do about it.
     
    Resources mentioned in this episode
    Context Matters framework: https://www.purposeandideas.org/post/context-matters-but-are-we-prepared-to-build-on-this 

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Bogossi ,

A must

A must for anyone interested in science for policy in EU

Top Podcasts In Science

Nerdland Podcast
Lieven Scheire
De Universiteit van Vlaanderen Podcast
Universiteit van Vlaanderen
Femmes d'exception
France Inter
Wetenschapje (8+)
Het Geluidshuis
Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam
La science, CQFD
France Culture

You Might Also Like

The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens
Nate Hagens
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion
Economist Podcasts
The Economist
The Infinite Monkey Cage
BBC Radio 4
Energy vs Climate
Energy vs Climate