The Quest For Science Advice Continues

The European Commission is still working on its next science advice mechanism.  The new Commission has opted for an advisory council rather than a chief science adviser, and the research Commissioner, Carlos Moedas, announced the next step in this process earlier this week (H/T ScienceInsider).

Three people have been selected to assist the Commission in identifying the members of the new advisory body.  They are Sir David King, Rianne Letschert, and António Vitorino.  Sir King is a former Government Chief Scientific Adviser for the United Kingdom, Letschert is a professor of criminal law and chair of the Young Academy in the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and Vitorino is a former deputy prime minister of Portugal (Commissioner Moedas’s country) and European Commissioner.  The three will develop criteria for selection and a preliminary list of names for consideration.  Their methodology should be made public in the next two weeks.  The plan is to have the group up and running in October.

Meanwhile, Canadian MP Kennedy Stewart continues his quest to establish an independent Parliamentary science officer.  His bill, introduced (what is called tabled in many Parliaments) in 2013, still has a chance before the elections expected sometime this year.  Stewart restated his case for the position in this article he cowrote with Andrew Cuddy for Policy Options.  I’d avoid the introduction, which tries to link his bill with the ongoing restrictions Canadian government scientists face in publicizing their research.  Focus on the meat of the piece, which is a good summary of what the Parliamentary science officer would do, and how it’s different from the closest Canadian analog, the Office of the National Science Adviser.  Those dying for a U.S. equivalent might look toward the Office of Technology Assessment, though it was not organized in the same fashion that the Parliamentary science officer would.

The next Canadian Parliamentary elections are tentatively scheduled for late October, so we should know what will happen in both Canada and Europe around science advice at the same time.  Something to look forward to.


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