WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1 | Evidence and Democracy: Sustaining Trust in a Challenging World

Science advice, no matter how inclusive, well-organised and ably-delivered, increasingly struggles with misinformation and mistrust. Yet its role in democracies seems more crucial than ever. What practices and principles should underpin trust and legitimacy in science advice? How can deliberative and other democratic processes better cope with uncertain knowledge, coupled with the need for speed?

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

8:45 │ Plenary: Science-Policy-Society: Virtuous cycle?

8:45 – 9:30

This plenary panel will take a critical look at our current systems of science advice and consider any assumptions we might be making about the robustness of our mechanisms and structures. What happens when the very foundations the system is built on ‘fail’? What role do formal and informal advice play in balancing systems under stress? How can knowledge still provide value to the political system when the politics and/or the public are antagonistic?


Vladimír Šucha
– Senior Policy Advisor, UNESCO;
Former, Director General of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), Slovakia
Roger Pielke Jr
– Professor, University of Colorado Boulder; Lead, Evaluation of Science Advice in a Pandemic Emergency (EScAPE) project, United States
Jean-Philbert Nsengimana
– Managing Director, The Commons Project Foundation; Former Rwandan Minister of Youth and ICT Rwanda
Kira Matus
– Associate Head, Division of Public Policy at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Maria da Graça Carvalho
– Member of European Parliament for Portugal; Former Minister of Science, Innovation & Higher Education

9:30 | PAUSE

9:45 │ Panel: Evidence and values in policy-making: Finding the balance

9:45 – 10:30

Making space for public values in science advice to government is heralded as a protection against technocracy, and yet the legitimacy of scientific knowledge derives from endorsement by peers, not the public. Is there a need for a new approach within science advice to better prepare for the tensions of pluralistic policy-making?


Manuela Fernández Pinto
– Associate Professor, Center for Applied Ethics, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Heather Douglas
– Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, United States
David Mair
– Head of Unit, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Belgium
Asma Ismail
– President, Academy of Sciences Malaysia; Ibn Sina Chair for Medicine at the International Islamic University Malaysia
Maria Baghramian
– Professor, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin; Project Leader, PERITIA (Policy, Expertise and Trust), Ireland

Studio Session │ Panel: The future of regulatory science advice: Adaptive tech regulation and how to do this.

One of the key roles of a government in a democracy is to use regulation to protect and empower its citizens. When it comes to technology, the rate of innovation is accelerating and there is a need to anticipate and regulate quickly. Many of the biggest current debates (from vaccines to AI and beyond) stem out of regulation science. Is it now the most volatile area for democracy today?


Marc Saner
– Chair, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Ottawa; Founding Director, Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP)
Marina Kaljurand
– Estonian Member of the European Parliament and Member of the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) committee
Lassina Zerbo
– Executive Secretary Emeritus, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Austria
Yoshua Bengio
– Founder and Scientific Director, Mila – Quebec AI Institute; Full Professor, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Muhammad Adeel
– Diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan

10:30 | PAUSE

10:45 │ INGSA Horizon Stage: Daniel Sarewitz

10:45 – 11:30

Even before the pandemic, the role that robust knowledge and experts played in our democracies was a complicated one. Technology, globalisation, demographic change, and other major shifts in all of our lives feel like they have been moving faster than the collective processes we put in place to understand and deal with them as societies. The solutions to these issues are likely to be as complicated as the problems.

Prof Daniel Sarewitz has been the Editor-in-Chief on Issues in Science and Technology and has written for some of the most prestigious journals and magazines in the world. Recently retired from Arizona State University, Prof Sarewitz joins the INGSA Horizon Stage to discuss the challenges, opportunities and risks for evidence in democracy.


Sabina Leonelli
– Professor of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Daniel Sarewitz
– Emeritus Professor, Arizona State University, United States

Studio Session │ Panel: What evidence do you need to take action? The role of communication in evidence-informed policy

Knowledge exchange and knowledge brokering involves a wide range of stakeholders, calling for trust and collaboration between science, industry, policy and society. What are the tools and structures needed to make knowledge brokering more effective, particularly within the context of sustainability and climate change. How is knowledge circulated, co-created and communicated?  What is the role of traditional academic knowledge systems alongside new digital and public tools and how can they be used meaningfully and responsibly? What role does communication play in how evidence is picked-up and where do policy makers source their knowledge and insight from to define realistic pathways towards net-zero? Do we have the right partnerships, collaborations and skillsets being deployed in pursuit of a more sustainable future for the planet?


Elisa Reis
– Professor of Political Sociology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
David Budtz Pedersen
– Director of the Humanomics Research Centre; Knowledge Broker for Algorithms, Data and Democracy by the Villum & Velux Foundations, Denmark
Claire Craig
– Provost of Queen’s College, University of Oxford; Former Chief Science Policy Officer at the Royal Society, United Kingdom
Lewis Collins
– Editor-in-Chief One Earth journal, United Kingdom

11:30 | LUNCH

12:15 │ Panel: New responsibilities in a changing information landscape

The aim of this panel is to examine how the tools of misinformation exploit social tensions, knowledge uncertainties and structural inequities to undermine evidence-based arguments for collective public action (e.g. reducing our reliance on fossil fuels or getting vaccinated). Is misinformation about scientific issues a symptom or a driver of the problem? How can science advice respond?


Jurgis Vilcinskas
– Deputy Head of Strategic Communications, European External Action Service, Belgium
Dominique Brossard
– Professor and Chair, Department of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
Peter Halligan
– Chief Scientific Adviser, Wales, United Kingdom
Shirley S. Ho
– Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore
Kate Wilkinson
– Deputy Chief Editor, Africa Check, South Africa

Studio Session │ Innovations in Science Advice – Beyond the Current Affairs: Building Capacity for using scientific knowledge in policymaking

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
Nancy Goucher
Knowledge Mobilization Specialist at the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute, Canada
Andy Stirling
– Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, United Kingdom 
Aline Villarreal
– Science – Policy Interface Fellow in the Ministry of Environment of Mexico City
Emily Hayter
– Senior Programme Specialist, INASP, United Kingdom
Seyed Shahmy
– Senior Scientist, National Science and Technology Commission, Sri Lanka
Timo Maas
– Policy Researcher, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Netherlands

13:00 | PAUSE

13:15 │ Plenary: Where to from here? The next steps for INGSA, award presentations and announcements

13:15 – 14:00

Just as the world is undergoing a great transition, the next phase in INGSA’s journey is also set to begin! As we bring to a close the Anglophone component of the INGSA2021 program, the Founding Chair of INGSA, Sir Peter Gluckman will reflect on INGSA’s incredible first five years, as well as introduce the next phase in its governance and direction. Don’t miss this closing plenary for some awards, memories and a sneak peek of INGSA’s bright future!


Kristiann Allen
– Executive Secretary of INGSA; Associate Director at Koi Tū: Centre for Informed Futures, New Zealand
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

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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