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Science meets Parliaments

Written by Nera Kuljanic and Guillermo Garrido-Lestache

On 15 September 2015 the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament (EP) will be co-hosting, together with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, an event entitled ‘Science meets Parliaments’. This event will mark the launch of two similar initiatives aiming to promote a culture of science-based policy-making: STOA’s ‘MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme’ and the JRC’s ‘Science meets Parliaments’.

The recently launched fourth round of STOA’s MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme received a total of 326 applications from scientists and researchers from all over Europe. The candidates are from more than 30 different countries, with Spain, the UK and Germany being the most represented. The majority of the applicants are specialised in medicine, the life sciences or engineering, but disciplines such as anthropology, art, criminology, forensics and law are also represented. After the screening of applications has been completed, it is now up to Members to select a corresponding scientist to be paired with. The scientists will be invited to Brussels to accompany and possibly assist Members in their daily political activities (including taking part in Committee meetings), thus having the opportunity to observe the EU science, technology and research policy actors in action. The aim is to enhance mutual understanding between the two communities and help them establish long-lasting cooperation links. As a follow-up, the pairs formed by scientists and Members will be encouraged to collaborate in organising an event, with a European dimension, on a topic of their choice.

The September launch event will be chaired and moderated by Paul Rübig, STOA Chair, and Vladimír Šucha, Director-General of the JRC. Two Members and two Commissioners will speak to present the views, needs and expectations of policy-makers and to identify ways of improving the existing communication channels. Mairead McGuinness (EP Vice-President responsible for STOA), Jerzy Buzek (ITRE Chair), Tibor Navracsics (Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible also for the JRC) and Carlos Moedas (Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation). These presentations will be followed by a session with representatives from the Austrian, Hungarian and German national parliaments, who will provide an overview of the science-policy interface at the national level. The viewpoints and experiences of the scientific community will be represented by Jos van der Meer (EASAC), Torbjørn Digernes (CESAER), Björn Nilsson (Euro-Case), Günter Stock (ALLEA), Friedrich W. Hesse (Leibniz Association), and Flavia Schlegel (UNESCO). Finally, Eva Kaili, STOA Vice-Chair, will present the MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme, for which she is responsible within the STOA Panel. To take a look at the complete programme for the event click here.

Those unable to register and attend in person could follow the event via webstreaming and join the discussion on Twitter with #EUsci4PARL.

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