Scientific advice to European policy in a complex world
Independent expert report
We live in a complex and ambiguous world, where trust in both science and politics can be put into question – where scientific evidence is dismissed and policy decisions contested on the assumption of partiality and private interests. Nevertheless, at present the role of science is crucial to inform policy-making in order to provide clarity and assess the consequences of policy options in a systematic way. In order to ensure that trust in science is maintained, science advice needs to be provided in an impartial, reliable, relevant and transparent way, following a set of principles and... building on existing best practices. This scientific opinion, informed by a scientific evidence review report by the Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) consortium, makes the following recommendations to ensure the quality and relevance of scientific advice: Engage early and regularly with policy-makers and define together the boundaries of the advice, the question and its scope, as well as the best way to address it. Involvement of stakeholders or the public in the process can also be envisaged. Improve the quality of scientific advice by rigorous synthesis of existing evidence and transparent debate. Analyse and communicate uncertainty and diverging views related to the scientific evidence and the policy options recommended.