Conference Logistics

Delegates and Speakers should have received their invitation and Initial Delegate Information Pack to assist with the logistics of their visit. The current delegate information pack can be downloaded here.

This will be updated closer to the conference with more in-country information, so please see back here if you do not receive it via email.

For information on the INGSA2018 Conference Programme, see the Programme Page.


Theme and objectives of the 2018 conference

The overarching theme of the conference is “Science Advice for a changing world”. This theme encompasses the urgency of our common challenges and global goals; the unprecedented speed of scientific discovery and application; and the shifting public view of both science and policy making in the emerging ‘post-trust’ society. The theme informs the objectives of the programme which are:

  • To enable critical reflection and interdisciplinary dialogue on the practice and place of science advice in policy-making. Public policy is a values-based domain where, in a democracy, policy makers and politicians try to reflect public attitudes and demands. Societies need a critical understanding of the utility and limits of scientific evidence in policy processes, and to know how to weigh this against other considerations in context.
  • To develop the science-policy interface for the achievement of the SDGs by better understanding the role of science advice and evidence-informed policy in promoting them.
  • To consider strategies to further improve the provision of evidence-informed advice to public policy at all levels of government, and explore the role of multiple stakeholders in influencing and facilitating this process. In providing evidential input it is important to also consider the ethical and societal implications of how scientific knowledge and technology are applied (


Programme Structure

The programme will be a mix of keynote speakers, plenary sessions, and parallel sessions on four thematic streams.

 Parallel stream 1) Science advice in an era of Technological and Societal Transformation

Human innovation and ingenuity has both upsides and downsides, especially at scale. How can risks and challenges be mitigated and benefits maximised?  This stream will examine the role of science advice in bridging the multiple sectors required.

Parallel stream 2) Science advice and the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for truly joint, global action on our shared challenges.  The SDGs require not only new knowledge but also radically new systems and approaches.  This session will examine the types of knowledge that are required to help advance the SDGs and how such knowledge must be framed and mobilised in innovative new ways.

Parallel stream 3) The Future of Science Advice

Science advice has never been so important.  At a time when the use of ‘evidence’ to guide public policy can be so openly revered and reviled, trusted and tested – depending on one’s political position – there has never been a greater need for it. Yet, the position of science advisor or science advisory mechanisms is vulnerable sitting as it does between science and public policy, and largely between facts and values. In this in-between, it is important to maintain the trust of parties who do not always trust each other.  While the position requires a distinct set of skills and experiences, there is no formal training for this brokerage and often structural barriers prevent it functioning effectively (in both science and policy sectors).

This session will look at the future of science advising and the skills needed?  What are the implications of institutionalising these?  Who are the next generation advisors and will they want the job?

Parallel stream 4) Contexts and Case Studies of Science Advice

Science advising is often discussed in the abstract, by way of principles and practices.  Putting these into context can provide a better way to share experience and lessons.  This is especially important because the practice of science advising is highly contextualised.  The advisor or advisory mechanism can quickly become a decision-maker in crises, for instance.  Science advice to local officials may need to confront more immediate and direct democratic processes than at other levels, but may also have more immediate and direct impacts.  At the same time, at the international level, diplomats and trade-negotiators have to marshal scientific understandings in new and unprecedented ways.  These are just some of the unique contexts in which science advice plays a role.  This session drills deep into the diverse contexts of science advice to better understand its real-world application.


Satellite Events (5th and 8th November)

Satellite events and workshops will be held on the days either side of the main conference program. Some of these will will be open to delegates. Once invited to attend the conference, delegates will be given the opportunity to register their interest for these Satellite events and will subsequently be selected by organisers.

These satellite events will be:

Monday 5th November:

  • Public Guide to Data Science Workshop – Collaboration between Sense About Science and Elsevier
    • An international collaboration between citizens, research bodies and decision makers to produce ‘Data science: a guide for society’. From health monitoring to town planning, economic forecasts and troop deployment, expectations grow that more data will answer more of the toughest questions in research and policy. There are daily announcements – about initiatives to combine huge datasets, more data to be stored, and new algorithmic machines on offer to decision makers. Amidst all this, it has become difficult for people – politicians, journalists, citizens- to ask some fundamental questions, such as ‘what is it?’ and ‘how do I know what’s reliable?’ In short, how do we ask the quality questions about data science?

      This workshop is the opportunity for science advisers and researchers to consider an outline guide and look at what the public and decision makers think is helpful. It will contribute to the final guide, including a common language for researchers, decision makers and wider society to talk about quality and confidence in data science and a basic taxonomy of data and the methods to analyze it. 

  • Science Leadership / Science Advice Capacity Building Workshop – Global Young Academy
    • As part of the INGSA2018 3rd bi-annual global conference, the Global Young Academy (GYA) will run a one-day science leadership workshop in collaboration with INGSA and the Japan Young Academy on the 5th November. The main aim of the workshop will be to allow participants to explore the leadership role that they could play at the science advice interface, and develop a personal strategy for their engagement; it is expected, further, that the outcomes of the workshop will feed into the conference. The workshop is open to an interdisciplinary group of young scientists from around the world that will have been nominated by INGSA, the Young Academy of Japan, and by the GYA.
  • Science Diplomacy Workshop – 1/2 day workshop in collaboration with FMSTAN
    • The Foreign Ministries Science and Technology Advisors Network (FMSTAN) is a global web of science advisors within countries’ Foreign Ministries. It brings together some of the world’s most experienced and senior practitioners of using science for diplomacy. To leverage this unique opportunity, FMSTAN will be running a ½ day Science Diplomacy workshop open to Science & Technology councillors from embassies across Tokyo and selected delegates from the INGSA2018 conference.

Thursday 8th November:

  • Science in the Global South – LMIC Breakfast hosted by IDRC
    • A working breakfast for invited representatives of the Global South to have an in-depth discussion about the unique challenges and opportunities for countries in the developing world. It will also be an opportunity to take stock of some of the discussions from the conference, as well as to collectively reflect on the state of science advice in LMICs in order to generate new ideas, explore possible research and capacity-building agendas.
  • Urban Science Advice Workshop
    • Expanding urban areas are a global phenomenon, and their influence on environment, society and economy are significant. Cities have a large role to play in achieving global sustainable development, and requires the development of institutional forms and networks, which are able to effectively collect, handle and integrate knowledge within their decision-making mechanisms for local level action and global level reporting. Therefore, Urban Science Advice takes place within a complex space of knowledge creation and demand and governance priorities, where decision-makers are required to address issues which range in their nature and scope from hyper-local to global and require access to appropriate knowledge and insights to do so. Urban science advice needs to take into consideration how urban priorities are embedded in multi-layered regulative spheres, many of which, while well-intentioned, cannot anticipate the contextual particularity of individual urban contexts. How should urban contexts work with such multi-scalar governance injunctions in ways that advance, rather than frustrate, their own distinctive local agendas?
  • Parliamentary Science Advice Workshop
    • The quantity and complexity of scientific information available to policymakers has been on the rise for decades and is widely acknowledged as critical for decision-making within many policy domains. But how well do we understand the conditions under which legislative science advice occurs and is most likely to be successful in informing policy? At this daylong INGSA workshop on November 8th, we will consider how science advice varies across legislatures, why it matters, and the state of knowledge of research and practice. The agenda will consist of both short talks and interactive sessions within small groups. Workshop participants will learn about activities currently underway internationally on building the research and practice of legislative science advice, consider what research questions the field should prioritize, and identify opportunities to build capacity for science advice in legislatures around the world.


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