The corona crisis has hit society hard. The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic will leave no one and no area of our lives untouched. Yet at the same time, there are major differences in how these consequences play out. A virus caused worldwide disruption.
What does that mean for the long-term policy challenges? It is with this question that the KNAW and WRR have started a joint study to map out those strategic policy questions for the next five years. In doing so, they look at both the development of the Covid-19 pandemic and the broader policy tasks that have become more visible, deepened or receded by the pandemic.
First, it is uncertain how the pandemic itself will develop. Will it be over when everyone is vaccinated, or will new variants emerge against which the existing vaccines are less effective? Thinking about these questions is essential for formulating adequate policy. A scenario analysis can help with this. Scenarios are not about 'predicting', but about outlining plausible futures to broaden strategic thinking and thus facilitate the development of robust policies, regardless of the scenario that unfolds. In addition, the WRR and the KNAW are looking at the implications of the corona crisis for broader policy tasks, for example around dividing lines, sustainability and digitization.
Collaboration between WRR and KNAW
With the scenario study, the WRR and the KNAW aim to provide scientific-strategic support for the Dutch government. This joint approach will consider the medical-virological aspects of the pandemic, but will focus primarily on the broader issues affecting society as a whole.
The scenario study is being carried out by a joint WRR and KNAW project group co-chaired by Tanja van der Lippe, chair of KNAW’s Social Sciences Council, and André Knottnerus, former chair of the WRR. The project group will draw on the expertise of a supervisory committee consisting of Catrien Bijleveld (WRR), Godfried Engbersen (WRR) and Maarten Prak (KNAW).