Introduction

The International Network for Government Science Advice Incorporated (INGSA) is holding an election for the Executive Officer roles of its Governing Board.

The purpose of the Board is:

  • To provide leadership across INGSA’s global efforts at the interface between evidence generating and policy making, and
  • To enable the delivery of INGSA’s objectives by ensuring financial and management robustness

The Executive Officer roles are:

  • President
  • Vice-President Evidence (intended to bring insight from the research and knowledge community)
  • Vice-President Policy (intended to bring insight of the policy-making community)
  • Vice-President Capacity Building (intended to bring insight in capacity building for the core competencies in science advice to governments, whether focused on individuals, institutions, or both)

Applications for the Executive Officer roles of the Board opened via the INGSA website in April 2020. Applicants were then shortlisted by the INGSA Nominating Committee, and we now invite all eligible INGSA members to vote on their preferred candidate for each Executive Officer position.

Members are eligible to vote if they had been registered on the INGSA database as at 1 July 2020.

The candidates

Statements from each candidate addressing their reasons for standing for election, and the experience, skills and networks they will bring to the role are listed below. Candidates are listed alphabetically by first name.

President

Candidate 1: Prof Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist, Government of Québec, Canada
Statement from the current Chair, Sir Peter Gluckman:

I am delighted to announce that Prof Rémi Quirion, the serving Chief Scientist of Québec, has been elected unopposed as the next president of INGSA. Beyond that, we have an extraordinary set of candidates for the other Governing Board Officer roles, highlighting the progress INGSA has made in its first 5 years. The new Board will formally take over at the Montreal meeting on Sept 1 but Remi and I are already working in a  joint manner.

Remi is ideally placed to further advance the concepts and practice of science policy and science diplomacy through INGSA. He has been energetically engaged with INGSA from the outset, involved in many of our workshops, and has given particular focus to our African activities. His election as president is a further step forward for INGSA.

INGSA is an incredible success in great part thanks to its inaugural Chair, Sir Peter Gluckman. Established following the 2014 meeting in Auckland, INGSA has thousands of members from all over the world—from illustrious Chief Scientist Advisors to trainees—and very dynamic chapters in Africa, Asia and South America. Its Research and Knowledge Associates programs are most successful attracting the best and the brightest from everywhere. INGSA and its FMSTAN sub-committee are sought-after to produce expert reports on topics as varied as the SDG, EDI, open science and many others. With creative initiatives such as the ‘’global evidence-to-policy-tracker’’ and the new Horizon series, the COVID-19 pandemic has markedly increased INGSA’s stature as one of the very few key global organisations in the field of science advice and diplomacy. In spite of all these successes, INGSA is fragile and its long-term sustainability is far from guaranteed, as financial support is usually short-term and come from very few organisations (its parent organisations ISC, Wellcome Trust, IDRC, New Zealand and Quebec governments). As one of its founding member and current Vice-Chair, I am fully committed to ensure the long-term success and viability of INGSA.

INGSA was most recently incorporated as a charitable trust and society in order to facilitate fund raising and develop a strategic plan under the leadership of the newly elected board. As President of the board, one of my first tasks will be to establish a solid yet consultative governance model. We will then work on the new strategic plan in consultation with all stakeholders including CSAs and relevant academia, and key partners such as the ISC, IDRC and Wellcome Trust. The plan will be as an opportunity to consolidate INGSA’s innovative programs and leadership by increasing global capacity in practical, goals-oriented science advice and diplomacy in a post-pandemic world.

A major objective of the new plan will be to ensure the financial sustainability of the organisation by securing long-term support from a variety of donors. I am already in discussion with potential partners and I am optimistic that agreements can be finalized in 2022. Subject to approval by the Board, another goal of the plan will be to complete the network of Chapters with the development of European and North American chapters. A strong and dynamic network of chapters is a critical element toward increased global capacity in science advice. Chapters are also INGSA’s most direct links with all our members. Finally, I would like INGSA’s members to explore differential strategies and guidelines for global to local science advices (from international, national, regional to municipal levels; each with their own set of cultural challenges and expectations). In brief, a challenging but fun series of objectives that will consolidate the leadership position of INGSA on science advice and diplomacy.

 

Vice-President Evidence

Candidate 1: Dr Claire Craig, Provost, The Queen’s College, Oxford University, UK

I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to INGSA’s work at this important time in its development. I would bring experience gained from working at the interface between decision-makers and those who create and provide evidence in a wide range of settings, as UK Senior Civil Servant and from within academia.

Whilst in government, I worked closely with Ministers, and in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit;  much of that time engaged directly in the provision and deployment of evidence.  I led the UK’s Foresight programme as it established new ways to draw on the best available evidence to inform futures thinking in projects from flood risk to infectious diseases, human enhancement and the future of cities. Latterly, as Director of the UK Government Office for Science I supported two UK Government Chief Scientific Advisors in the provision of evidence and advice in emergencies, futures work, horizon scanning, major projects and capability building within government.  I was co-author with Sir Mark Walport of the GCSA’s Annual Report on Innovation and Risk. I was also the UK member of the governing body of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

Then, at the UK’s national science academy, the Royal Society, I worked with Fellows on the provision of evidence in areas from Machine Learning, climate change and biodiversity to genetic technologies. Now the Provost (head) of The Queen’s College at Oxford University, I remain a member of the UK government’s advisory AI Council. I am on the advisory boards to initiatives to promote academic engagement with policy and government in three universities (Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol, UK).

Providing robust, timely and accessible advice in contested areas of policy or science is not easy. We need scientists, those with experience of the wide range of science advisory roles, policy-makers, social scientists, humanities scholars, science communicators and those involved in public engagement with science, to work together to act, reflect, learn and evolve the practices.  INGSA has played an essential part in bringing such people together so that they can support and learn from each other, and from each other’s different national, local, multinational and global policy settings. It is only by continuing to practice, learn and develop, that we will continue to enhance the ways in which science contributes to the public good. The coronavirus pandemic has created new opportunities and challenges, and INGSA is well-placed to ensure that we learn from them.  I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to its future work.

 
Candidate 2: Prof Roger Pielke Jr, Professor, University of Colorado Boulder, US

The INGSA mission is to enhance “the use of evidence in policy formation and implementation at all levels of governmental policy making.” This is an incredibly important ambition at any time, but especially so as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to reverberate around the world. I have worked on science advice now for almost 30 years and have had the opportunity to see the field and practice grow from a niche subject to a matter of unavoidable importance across policy domains.

Over the past year I have led a new consortium (EScAPE) at the intersection of government science advice and public health expertise to evaluate the use of evidence in 16 countries (plus Hong Kong, North Carolina and the WHO). I have learned that although public health and governments have long been well connected, expertise and experience in science advice is not always well-reflected in these connections. Thus, there exists a huge opportunity to better integrate the INGSA network with public health advisory mechanisms and government policy making. There is no simple formula or institutional structure that can be applied in all contexts to empower the effective use of evidence in informing public policy. But there are nonetheless important lessons to be learned via sharing experiences, building capacity and research practices.

Always important, the value of science advice has never been greater, and the pandemic has provided a global opportunity to translate shared tragedies and experiences into better practice. I am fully committed to helping INGSA play a constructive and impactful role in supporting governments around the world to build upon the deep body of knowledge and practice, newly supplemented by our shared journey through the pandemic. We can expect an enormous amount of new knowledge to be produced about science advice in the pandemic, and INGSA can play a key role in ensuring that new knowledge strengthens the evidence-policy interface.

Since 2014 INGSA has done an incredible job expanding the arena of discussions of science advice to many regions and countries around the world which were previously largely disconnected from this area of expertise and practice. I strongly support INGSA’s commitment to capacity building, on both supply and demand sides of advice, and as well, among those who work at the interface. I also support INGSA’s commitment to diversity in science advice, and its commitment not to lobby for a particular mechanism or model of advice, recognizing that national and cultural contexts matter immensely.

I deeply value the work of INGSA, and as an undisciplined scholar, I have since its inception most closely associated my own work, values and focus with that of the INGSA community. I am at a point in my career where I have the capacity to devote significant time and effort to INGSA – notably I will be on sabbatical 2022-23 and am willing to spend an extended period locally with the INGSA Secretariat if that would be useful to helping INGSA to achieve its mission and goals.

 

Vice-President Policy

Candidate 1: Dr Flavia Schlegel, CEO, Science Governance Partnership, Switzerland

The current pandemic highlights the importance and difficulty to link knowledge and policy making. Even more so, when knowledge is uncertain and policy decisions have to be taken quickly, when misinformation and mistrust are increasing, when we lack tools to respond to the systemic nature of challenges.

We experience how difficult it is to build appropriate science advice mechanisms from scratch under the huge pressure of a crisis such as a pandemic, if no investments were made before. Provision of critical evidence depends on trust and credibility which are not gained over night. And evidence can mean a lot of different things to a policy maker. Also, for science advice one size does not fit all and good theories have to survive the reality check of public policy making.

These are not new issues. When INGSA was launched in 2014 it targeted some of these obvious gaps in science advice. Back then, as Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, I seized the opportunity to engage with INGSA because of its focus on practice and on developing capacities and networks within regional contexts and expertise.

Thanks to INGSA networks have grown and many practitioners, policy makers and scientists have gained insights into and understanding of the delicate process of science advice and science diplomacy. The 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement expressed the need to redefine the balance between environmental, economic and social development. And it is now with the pandemic, that we cannot avoid the question anymore how to build and rebuild from now on?

What can INGSA as an organization learn from the pandemic and how should science advice look like in the future, both in preparation of the next crisis, but also in support of the SDGs and their systemic nature?

As a Vice President for Policy, I would engage in shaping the next phase of INGSA:
to invest in INGSA’s role in local and global policy making
to position science advice as a mechanism of honest brokerage
to expand INGSA’s partnerships with a multisectoral and transdisciplinary perspective

I am convinced that my personal and professional experience can move INGSA’s agenda forward. After working as an MD in an AIDS hospice I changed my focus and became responsible for national HIV/AIDS prevention programs. As a science diplomat I shaped bi-lateral research agendas for Switzerland both with the US and China, and as ADG for UNESCO and then also as Special Envoy for ISC, I expanded my multilateral network and diversified my global perspectives both from a public policy and science organization’s point of view.

Now as an independent adviser my current work is related to national pandemic response, reorienting regional development finance towards the SDGs, developing a global and independent research platform for digital health and AI.

I hope to get the chance to support INGSA and its members and partners.

 
Candidate 2: Dr Soledad Quiroz-Valenzuela, Advisor in the Office of Science and Government, Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, Chile

I am delighted to represent the Latin American perspective within INGSA’s Governing Board. I believe this region has great potential and it is at a point where science advise and diplomacy is beginning to take a relevant place in our societies.

I have organized and guided science advise and diplomacy workshops in Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico for wide Latin American audiences. I am in constant awe of the diversity in the human perspectives, not only from different cultures, but also different disciplinary backgrounds. My doctoral degree in biochemistry combined with a master’s in public policy in US has allowed me to better understand and embrace these multicultural environments, functioning as a hinge that facilitates dialog and action. I am fortunate to use all my experience in the Ministry of Science in Chile.

The network I built in the Latin American community though my role in INGSA-LAC Steering Committee, and supporting initiatives in the region has shown to be very active and diverse. Having a representative in the Governing Board, would be very encouraging to continue learning about our experiences, ideas and lessons in science advise and diplomacy.

 

Vice-President Capacity

Candidate 1: Dr Binyam Sisay Mendisu, Program Officer for Teacher Education and Curriculum Development, UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, Ethiopia

As an early career scholar and practitioner who has been passionately engaged in developing the capacity of young researchers in science advice and leadership, I have always sought to make a significant and lasting contribution to advance evidence-informed policy making globally. Based on my experiences in research, practice and capacity development in the science and policy space, I would like to present my self-nomination to be considered for the VP Capacity Building position of the Governing Board of INGSA.

I completed my PhD in Linguistics from University of Oslo in 2008 and between 2008-2016, I taught full time at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, including serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities (2010-2012). I am a founding fellow of the Ethiopian Young Academy of Sciences. Since 2016, I work as an education specialist at UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa.

I was the 2019 Research Associate of INGSA. During my fellowship year, I have conducted a study on the state of evidence-informed policy making in Ethiopia, and organized a regional workshop to develop the capacity of early career scientists and policy makers in Eastern Africa. My co-authored essay entitled ‘the evolving science advice landscape’ is to be published in UNESCO Science Report this month. In 2020, I served as one of the global expert steering committee members of ‘Rethinking Human Development’, a joint initiative of the International Science Council (ISC) and UNDP. The project attempts to rearticulate Human Development for the 21st Century, and the final report highlights the importance of science advice in reimagining the future.

As a member of the Global Young Academy (GYA) and co-lead of the Science Advice Working Group in 2020-2021, and a steering committee member and facilitator of the African Science Leadership Program (ASLP) since 2017, I have been closely involved in designing, developing, organizing and running several interactive and collaborative capacity development workshops on science advice and leadership, including ‘GYA/JYA/INGSA Science Leadership for Advice Workshop’ (Tokyo, a pre-event of INGSA 2018) and ‘Science Advice and Science Leadership Workshop for Early Career Scientists and Policy-makers of the Eastern Africa Region’ (Addis Ababa, 2019). I am a member of Inclusive Innovation team, and I bring to the position my experience on the science of creativity and the art of making capacity development initiatives engaging and dynamic, both face-to-face and virtually.

My current work at UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) regularly entails the practice of science advice, and it involves technical backstopping and capacity development on teacher policy making. I involve in technically supporting Ministries of Education in several African countries (including Burundi, Uganda, Mozambique, the Seychelles and Malawi) to develop and implement stand-alone teacher policies. I also play a key role in ensuring that both the policy development process and its implementation are well-informed by scientific evidence.

In the coming years, I wish to intensify my work in developing science advice capacity globally, and cultivate my own skills, knowledge and network through similar initiatives.

 
Candidate 2: Dr Renuka Badhe, Executive Secretary, European Polar Board, The Netherlands

Having known INGSA since the ICSU 2014 Auckland meeting, and being a member of INGSA since May 2015, this Governing Board opening brings a fantastic opportunity to offer my experience for the INGSA network. I stand for Vice President, Capacity Building, having worked on science, policy and management and at their intersection, in both Arctic and Antarctic for over 20 years. The Antarctic Treaty is unique in enshrining the role of scientific advice in a policymaking and governance environment. The Treaty sets aside the entire Antarctic continent for “peace and science”, and ensures international scientific cooperation and data sharing, is one of its kind. Having both organised and participated in many polar science, policy, and governance meetings including Antarctic Treaty Meetings (since 2010), it would be my pleasure to bring long established best practice from the polar regions for global capacity building via the INGSA network.

I bring broad experiences in science, policy, and capacity building with NGO, governmental, European and International organisations around the world. Since 2015, I serve as Executive Secretary of the European Polar Board (EPB), which seeks to advance collective knowledge of Polar issues, particularly in the context of European societal relevance. Both previously at Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR, as their Executive Officer) and at EPB I’ve had specific capacity building responsibilities-for smaller polar programs and organisations, for researchers at various career stages, and for ensuring a diversity of voices. I continue to be invited as an expert by projects, organisations, smaller national polar programs, for advising them on the process for setting scientific and policymaking priorities, and planning activities for building capacity. Notable recent examples were working with the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2019-2020; and 2020 onwards, Co-chairing the organising committee for the Southern Ocean Decade initiative bringing together the Southern Ocean community to plan “the science we need for the ocean we want”.

Organisations like SCAR, EPB, and INGSA rely on volunteers from the community to both lead and participate, thus the ability to communicate the advantage to them of doing so is important. Equally important is having wide and diverse networks, for best impact. My networks span both governmental and non-governmental organisations at all levels in both the global north and south, small and large national polar programs, regional polar organisations, polar governance entities, European agencies including both the European Commission and the European Space Agency, the OECD and its Govt Foresight Community, non-governmental organisations like the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and its members, youth organisations like Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), Antarctic tourism organisations like IAATO, amongst many others. As a passionate advocate for diversity in polar research, I co-founded Women in Polar Science (in 2014) to promote gender diversity in all aspects of polar research and policy, particularly from underrepresented regions. With knowledge of individual and institutional capacities and skills needed, and my experiences from the well-established science-policy interface in the polar regions, I look forward to working with INGSA on its path ahead.

 

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