ISE workshop on Science Advice in Europe

The Initiative for Science in Europe has held an expert workshop on science advising in Europe on 19th and 20th of January 2016 at the EMBL campus in Heidelberg, Germany. The workshop focused on important structural features of scientific advice in Europe, taking into account the need for transparency; the ecosystem of current advisory bodies; and the desire to construct reliable policies to meet global challenges.

Only issues related to Science for Policy were explored. The workshop did not explore "how should a Chief Science Advisor Office be run" Rather it was asked, what are all sources of possible science advice; which of these sources, if any, are useful for what types of decision-makers (including the public); and how would these various sources be synthesized and advice implemented?

The workshop is meant as a contribution to the improvement of science advising particularly at the European level by identifying and discussing any gaps in the current policy debate, and anticipating discussions that may occur about science advising particularly under the next Commission presidency (i.e., starting 2019).


The workshop included 24 experts representing robustly (but not comprehensively) the views of practitioners, analysts, and academics with interest in science advising in Europe. The workshop was held under the Chatham House Rule.

Prior to the workshop, the organizers interviewed briefly several (but not all) of the participants, and as well additional experts who could not attend the workshop.

At the workshop, each major session included short expert talks or other less-formal interventions. A few discussions were open (i.e., not structured), but most of the work was done in structured discussions. This was both to interrogate the participants to understand their views and how they evolved during the workshop discussions, and as well for the participants to conduct an exercise in drafting options for science advising in Europe.

Post-workshop, the organizers will go back to individual participants as needed to follow up on any gaps in our understanding, and we will add longer descriptions to contextualize the discussions.

We will distribute a report of the findings from the workshop widely to the stakeholder groups represented at the workshop (i.e., to both potential architects of science advice, and to users of such advice). We hope as well to be able to present the report at appropriate policymaking and academic forums.