Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Amr Dawood,
We are drowning in information, but find it increasingly difficult to discern what is factual and what is not. We need to create spaces where knowledge can be exchanged with a fair degree of confidence and trust among interlocutors. In this spirit, STOA‘s MEP-scientist pairing scheme strives to facilitate better understanding of EU policies among scientists, to foster greater mutual understanding between scientists and parliamentarians, and to contribute to closing the gap between researchers and policy-makers.
Promoting dialogue between scientists and Members of the European Parliament is an essential part of STOA’s mission. STOA is now launching the sixth edition of its MEP-scientist pairing scheme, following a very successful fifth round in 2016. Both rounds were led by Eva Kaili (S&D, Greece), STOA Chair, and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA). The high point of the pairing scheme – ‘Brussels week’ – will take place this year from 28 to 30 November, beginning with the ‘Science meets Parliaments‘ event, organised jointly with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), on 28 November 2017 at the European Parliament.
During their time at the European Parliament, the paired scientists will learn about the work of EP committees and research services, and will shadow their MEP counterparts in their daily activities. This aspect of the scheme is vital for both sides to identify the areas where the partners’ knowledge and experience can be combined to feed into better legislation. Follow-up visits for MEPs to see their paired scientists at work will hopefully be agreed bilaterally during the scientists’ visit to Brussels.
Following a welcome by their host, Eva Kaili, and the ‘Science meets Parliaments’ event, the scientists will have the opportunity to learn about the EP’s services, and to present their research activities to participating MEPs and fellow scientists. The first day will close with a networking reception for all participants. Scientists will then shadow their partner MEPs, including attending parliamentary committee meetings. A world science café, a dynamic participatory session organised by the JRC, will follow, with scientists continuing their shadowing activities on the third day. The week concludes with a meeting to reflect on the experience gained.
To keep up to date on the activities linked to this and future rounds of the ‘Science meets parliaments’ initiative and the MEP-scientist pairing scheme, see information on the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) blog, or follow us on Twitter @EP_ThinkTank. The scheme is open to scientists who are grantees, at the time of application, with the Joint Research Centre; Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows; EU-ANSA members; or ERC grant recipients. Application to be made via the institution responsible for the grant programme.