Scientific advice in crises: lessons learned from COVID-19

The OECD Global Science Forum (GSF) hosted a virtual workshop on 3d and 4th of March about scientific advice in crises: lessons learned from COVID-19. Frans Brom, director and council secretary of the Netherlands Scientific Councils for Government Policy (WRR) moderated a panel discussion on ‘Ensuring a holistic/multidisciplinary evidence base’ with a thematic focus on disease monitoring and social interventions.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, a broad range of scientific expertise has been required to provide advice on an expanding range of issues. In addition to biomedical and public health expertise, knowledge from social sciences and behavioural sciences and humanities has increasingly being called upon to address the impact of policy measures on society, taking into account the interests and values of various (public and private-sector) stakeholders.

Policy questions

This session explored how key policy questions were formulated and who was involved in this process.  It also explored how evidence from different scientific domains and disciplines has been included in science advisory processes during the pandemic and how effective this has been in addressing policy questions.

Science advice ecosystems

Science advice ecosystems are complex, operate at different scales and involve different actors, including scientists, policy-makers, risk analysts and crisis managers. Covid-19 has highlighted the critical importance of trust between these various actors and the public at large. The workshop will try and integrate perspectives from these different actors in order to identify what worked (and did not work) during the pandemic, how trust was established (and lost) and the implications for science policy.

This workshop was one in a series of international expert workshops organized by the GSF in 2021-2022, as part of a project on Mobilizing science in response to crises. The specific focus of this event was on scientific advice. Watch the sessions