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Ogmius Newsletter


September 29 Noontime Seminar
Chief Scientific Adviser in the European Commission: Results of an Experiment

by Dr. Jan Marco Müller, Policy Officer for International Relations, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre

webcastDrawing on his experience as office manager of the European Commission’s first Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Dame Anne Glover, Dr. Jan Marco Mueller presented why and how the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President was implemented in the European Commission, how it was perceived both internally and externally and which factors led to the dismantling of the role after only 3 years of existence. The talk presented achievements and failures as well as lessons to be learned for science advisory structures. View presentation here.

October 9 CIRES Distinguished Lecture Series
The Quest for Evidence: An insider’s View on Science and Politics in Europe

by Dr. Jan Marco Müller, Policy Officer for International Relations, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre

WebcastThe disappearing of the Chief Scientific Advisor post in the European Commission in November 2014 has put the role of science in European policy-making into the spotlight. While the Commission in the frame of its better regulation agenda is setting up a new science advisory mechanism based on a high-level expert panel and input provided by national science academies, discussions about the future role of the Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and other evidence providers such as the EU Agencies have also gained a new dynamic. Based on his experience as Assistant to the former Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Dame Anne Glover, the lecturer put the ongoing debate around institutional structures into the wider context of the complexity of European policy-making and the role given to science in political decisions, including on controversial topics such as GMOs. View presentation here.

November 19 at 12:00 PM
The Art of Communicating Science to Decision-Makers

by Dr. Jan Marco Müller, Policy Officer for International Relations, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre

Sponsored by the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy, The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, and Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

While policies both in the US and Europe are committed to be evidence-based, in practice political decisions are often not based on sound science. This is because science is just one element in the policy-making process, which follows also social, economic, and ethical / religious considerations to name just a few. The lecture analyses the relationship between science and policy and gives recommendations on how to enhance the impact of science on policy-making. Watch the webcast (12PM MST).

December 1 Noontime Seminar
Climate Change in an Amazon Town: Media and Environmental Perceptions in Ever-Rising Waters

by Sam Schramski, Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar, Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil

Dr. Schramski will present findings on his work on climate change perceptions among rural communities in the Brazilian Amazon. He will focus on the relationship between the role of news media as a national purveyor of information in the context of limited regional media outlets, as well as the lived experiences of individuals with whom he conducted research. Exploratory in nature, this talk will expand upon frameworks discussed in media theory and policy formation. It will attempt to shed new light on how we discuss climate change, particularly variability, in highly dynamic systems. Watch the webcast (12PM MST).

2015 Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability, University of Maine
When Science Meets Politics: Symphony or Slugfest

by Roger Pielke, Jr., University of ColoradoVideo

There are a range of controversies in the news these days where the role of expertise in decision making has proved challenging, from Deflategate in NFL football to the relationship of academics and industry in public debates over GMOs. Perhaps foremost among these, nations will gather in Paris in December to continue international negotiations on climate change, a generational challenge where progress has proven difficult.

In this lecture, Pielke took a critical look at the contested terrain where science and politics meet. He has long studied this terrain and occasionally found himself embroiled in it. Pielke argued that science and expertise are essential to good decision making. In particular, he argued that better decision making requires more honest brokers in political debates and less partisanship played out through science. There are strong incentives against such honest brokering – for politicians and experts alike. However, better decision making requires that we better connect science and politics. Pielke offered a hopeful message about how this might be done. View presentation here.