The Palgrave Communications Collection on Scientific Advice to Governments is guest edited by Sir Peter Gluckman (Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand & Chair, International Network for Government Science Advice) and Professor James Wilsdon (Professor of Research Policy, Department of Politics and Director of Impact and Engagement, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK).

Scientific advice to governments has never been in greater demand; nor has it been more contested. From climate change to cyber-security, poverty to pandemics, food technologies to fracking, the questions being asked of scientists, engineers and other experts by policymakers, the media and the wider public continue to multiply and increase in complexity. At the same time, the authority and legitimacy of experts are under increasing scrutiny, particularly on controversial topics, such as climate change and genetically modified crops.

This thematic collection brings together perspectives on the theory, practice and politics of scientific advice that build on the conclusions of the landmark conference in Auckland in August 2014, which led to the creation of the INGSA. Additional papers will be published over the coming months.

  1. Evaluation of the quality of science, technology and innovation advice available to lawmakers in Nigeria Maruf Sanni, Omolayo Oluwatope, Adedamola Adeyeye & Abiodun Egbetokun
  2. Scientific assessments to facilitate deliberative policy learning Martin Kowarsch, Jennifer Garard, Pauline Riousset, Dominic Lenzi, Marcel J. Dorsch, Brigitte Knopf, Jan-Albrecht Harrs & Ottmar Edenhofer
  3. Providing a “challenge function”: Government social researchers in the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (2010–2015) Michael Kattirtzi
  4. Temporal and spatial dimensions in the management of scientific advice to governments Marc Saner
  5. Exploring the science–policy interface on climate change: The role of the IPCC in informing local decision-making in the UK Candice Howarth & James Painter
  6. Reflections on science advisory systems in Canada Remi Quirion, Arthur Carty, Paul Dufour & Ramia Jabr
  7. The Rothschild report (1971) and the purpose of government-funded R&D—a personal account Miles Parker
  8. Scientific advice in China: the changing role of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Xiaoxuan Li, Kejia Yang & Xiaoxi Xiao
  9. Exploring the scope of science advice: social sciences in the UK government Adam CG Cooper
  10. Scientific advice on the move: the UK mobile phone risk issue as a public experiment Jack Stilgoe
  11. The evolving role of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in providing science and technology policy advice to the US government Peter D Blair
  12. Five years after Fukushima: scientific advice in Japan Yasushi Sato & Tateo Arimoto
  13. Revealing a paradox in scientific advice to governments: the struggle between modernist and reflexive logics within the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency Eva-Maria Kunseler
  14. Science, technology and innovation indicators in policy-making: the Nigerian experience Willie Siyanbola, Adedamola Adeyeye, Olawale Olaopa & Omowumi Hassan
  15. Ensuring science is useful, usable and used in global disaster risk reduction and sustainable development: a view through the Sendai framework lens Amina Aitsi-Selmi, Kevin Blanchard & Virginia Murray