MONDAY AUGUST 30 | Promise and Pandemic: Reshaping Science Advice

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about evidence-informed advising globally. We have seen established institutions fail, while new and ad hoc efforts show promise. What structural changes might be needed, from cities through to international organisations? What does ‘inclusive science advice’ look like? Is it even possible? In what ways does context matter? And what will the interfaces between science, policy and society look like in a post-COVID world?

The session times below are displayed in Eastern Daylight Time (Montreal Time)

8:30 | Welcoming Remarks

8:30 – 8:45

François Legault
– Premier of Québec, Canada
Valérie Plante
– Mayor of Montréal; Leader of Projet Montréal, Québec, Canada
Peter Gluckman
– Chair of INGSA, President-Elect of the International Science Council; Director of Koi Tū: the Centre for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland, New Zealand
Rémi Quirion
– Chief Scientist of Québec; President-elect, INGSA, Canada

8:45 │ Plenary | Roundtable: Reflections from Covid-19: Where to from here?

8:45 – 9:30

This opening plenary sets the scene for the future of science advice to governments in a post-pandemic world. The session will look to lessons from the pandemic experience that can inform the theory and practices of science advice going forward. Its intention is not to re-litigate specific pandemic actions but to identify key opportunities for science advice post-COVID. Some of the issues we might discuss are: whether crisis advice modalities can work in longer term situations and vice versa; the risks of politicisation of the science; and whether the pandemic represents a paradigm shift in the theory and practice of science advice.


Mona Nemer
– Chief Science Advisor of Canada
Joanne Liu
– Professor, School of Population and Global Health, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
Chor Pharn Lee
– Principal Foresight Strategist at Centre for Strategic Futures, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore
Andrea Ammon
– Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Sweden
Rafael Radi
– President of the National Academy of Sciences;
Coordinator of Scientific Honorary Advisory Group to the President on Covid-19, Uruguay

9:30 | PAUSE

9:45 | Panel: Science advice during COVID-19: What factors made the difference?

9:45 – 10:30

This panel presents an opportunity to review some of the stand-out lessons and case studies from the various international projects and mechanisms that were at the frontline of synthesising evidence for advice or have been tracking the policy responses around the world. We want to see whether there are any cross-cutting factors that influence the use of evidence in decision-making, which supersede contextual conditions (whether, cultural, sociological, institutional…)


Romain Murenzi
– Executive Director, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy
Stephen Quest
– Director-General, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), Belgium
Yuxi Zhang
– Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Amadou Sall
– Director, Pasteur Institute of Dakar, Senegal
Inaya Rakhmani
– Director, Asia Research Centre, Universitas Indonesia

Studio Session │ Panel: Lessons from and for science diplomacy

The panel will explore how countries mobilised (or did not mobilise) science diplomacy – whether internationally or across jurisdictions and policy sectors. What worked and why? Were new structures created? Will they endure? How did science diplomacy fare against domestic imperatives? Were the ideals of science diplomacy met or were they compromised under crisis? How has our thinking about science diplomacy changed?


María Estelí Jarquín
– Deputy Director, International Affairs, University of Costa Rica
Marga Gual Soler
– Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum; Founder of SciDipGLOBAL, Spain
Jan Marco Müller
– Science and Technology Advisor, Strategic Policy Planning Division, European External Action Service, Belgium
Mitsunobu Kano
– Science and Technology Co-Advisor, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
Mandë Holford
– Associate Professor, CUNY Hunter College, The American Museum of Natural History, CUNY Graduate Center, United States

10:30 | PAUSE

10:45 │ INGSA Horizon Stage: Salim Abdool Karim

10:45 – 11:30

When dealing with a crisis, everybody wants certainty – citizens want reassurance, scientists want facts, policymakers want solutions. How can scientists and policymakers navigate a situation where there is no certainty, where scientific consensus can shift suddenly, and where the very foundations of understanding are in constant flux?

Salim S. Abdool Karim is a South African clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist widely recognised for his research contributions in HIV prevention and treatment. He is Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and CAPRISA Professor of Global Health at Columbia University, USA.

For a year, Prof Abdool Karim was the Chair of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, and he joins the Horizon Stage to discuss what the lessons are from the frontline of science advising.


Inès Hassan
– Senior Projects Manager at the International Science Council
Salim Abdool Karim
– Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa;
CAPRISA Professor of Global Health at Columbia University, United States

Studio Session │ Special Event Panel: Chief Science Advisors

For countries with a Chief Science Advisor (CSA), the pandemic cast a direct (and sometimes harsh) spotlight on this role. With the pandemic as a lens, this special event panel will discuss the different models, mechanisms and challenges of CSA roles. Where do different mechanisms excel, is there an ‘ideal’ model for a CSA role, what other structures need to be in place for a CSA to be effective, and are there any myths that need to be dispelled?


E. William Colglazier
– Editor-in-Chief, Science & Diplomacy, AAAS; former S&T Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, United States
Juliet Gerrard
– New Zealand Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor
Teatulohi Matainaho
– Chief Science Advisor, Government of Papua New Guinea; Chairman, Papua New Guinea Science and Technology Council
Corien Prins
– Chair, Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy
Mark Ferguson
– Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland

11:30 | LUNCH

12:15 │ Panel: Transdisciplinary science: Are we there yet?

This panel will turn the spotlight on how science produces knowledge and evidence to advise governments and public decision-making. The type of science that can get us through wicked problems has been called ‘post-normal’ and ‘transdisciplinary’. It is the plurality of inputs and the synthesis of findings that is key, but this is hard work and our current culture and structures of knowledge production and sharing don’t support it. COVID showed us glimpses of what is possible. Can we build on those successes and institutionalise transdisciplinarity?


Theres Paulsen
– Director, Network for Transdisciplinary Research, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Switzerland
Jose Siri
– Senior Science Lead for Cities, Urbanization, and Health, Wellcome Trust’s
Our Planet, Our Health programme, United Kingdom
Ana Maria Hernandez Salgar
– Chair, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES), Canada
Naoko Ishii
– Director, Center for Global Commons; Executive Vice President, University of Tokyo, Japan
Nicole Grobert
– Chair, European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, United Kingdom

Studio Session │ Innovations in Science Advice – Covid-19: Reshaping Science Advice

For the first time, INGSA is delighted to present a curated collection of today’s most innovative and compelling new models and practices at the science/policy interface. Don’t miss any of these snapshots for state-of-the-art insights on what works today and what’s coming next!


Mehrdad Hariri 
– CEO and President of the Canadian Science Policy Centre, Canada
Anna-Maria Arabia
– Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science
Diego Quirós
– Professor of the Computer Science, Economics and Statistics Schools of the University of Costa Rica
Katrina Lawson
–  Communications Manager at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, United Kingdom
Alexandra Middleton
– Assistant Professor, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland
Toby Wardman
– Head of Communications for Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA), Belgium
Andrew Millar
– Chief Scientific Adviser, Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Government of Scotland, United Kingdom

13:00 | PAUSE

13:15 │ Plenary: Is the paradigm shifting? Rethinking our models

13:15 – 14:00

Science advice is built on a foundation of established models of knowledge production, policy-making and the science-policy-society relationship.  But all of these are currently in flux.  How do we provide advice in a context when foundational assumptions are changing? This panel explores key examples of changing discourses and how they interact, as well as the repercussions for research, policy and science advice.


Ian Goldin
– Professor of Globalisation and Development, Oxford University, United Kingdom
Armine Yalnizyan
– Economist and Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers, Canada
Achim Steiner
– Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, United States
Amba Kak
– Director, Global Policy and Programs, NYU’s AI Now Institute, United States
Elder Dave Courchene
– Knowledge Keeper of the Anishnaabe Nation; Founder of the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness, Canada

Organised by

Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ)

International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)

Government of Canada

INGSA operates under the auspices of the International Science Council

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