Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Prof Anne Glover: What is the right balance between respecting evidence and living in the real world?
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Prof Anne Glover: What is the right balance between respecting evidence and living in the real world?

1,777
views

Published on

STEPS Centre Annual Symposium 2013 – Credibility Across Cultures: expertise, uncertainty and the global politics of scientific advice, 6-7 February 2013. …

STEPS Centre Annual Symposium 2013 – Credibility Across Cultures: expertise, uncertainty and the global politics of scientific advice, 6-7 February 2013.
Professor Anne Glover CBE, Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission keynote lecture.


0 Comments
2 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,777
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
16
Comments
0
Likes
2
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 What is the right balancebetween respecting evidenceand living in the real world? Professor Anne Glover CBE Chief Scientific Adviserto the President of the European Commission
  • 2. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013European leaders will discuss tomorrow whether to spend 80 billion Euro for research and innovation
  • 3. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Science and technologyare part of everybody’s life
  • 4. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 We accept the benefits – do we accept the risks?
  • 5. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013Risk perception and evidence are two different things Percentage of world energy production Estimated deaths per Terawatt hour Source: www.susannahertrich.com
  • 6. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013Risk perception influencespublic opinion and, hence, behaviour of politicians
  • 7. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Societal perception of GMOsSociety A: GMOs are safe unless proven unsafeSociety B: GMOs are unsafe unless proven safeSociety C: GMOs are unsafe even if proven safeSociety D: GMOs are unsafe especially if proven safeSociety E: GMOs are safe even if proven unsafe (taken from A. Golikov)
  • 8. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013“GMO-free” municipalities in Flanders, Belgium Source: Guy van den Eede
  • 9. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 GMO approvalMember States voting on EFSA scientific opinion Source: EuropaBio, Approvals of GMOs in the European Union, Oct. 2011
  • 10. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013Salient points of EU GMO policy • A rigorous safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) based on the best possible science • Post-market monitoring • Labelling of GMOs and derived food and feed products at all stages (when present above 0.9%) • Traceability from the point of production or import down to the table and vice versa • Co-existence between organic, traditional and GM plant from the seed throughout the production chain
  • 11. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 www.climatepedia.org Do we trustscientific evidence?
  • 12. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Public support for science is decreasing Source: Eurobarometer, Special Edition 340 “Science and Technology” (2010)
  • 13. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013“Because of their knowledge, scientists have a power that makes them dangerous” Source: Eurobarometer, Special Edition 340 “Science and Technology” (2010)
  • 14. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Scientific evidence is sound and peer- reviewed. It evolves over time,but it doesn’t changefrom one government to the next.
  • 15. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 So what’s the problem then?• The world has become much more complex (and, hence, confusing)• The pace of technological change has increased• People believe that "unwanted" new technologies can be somehow de-invented• Lack of information about the benefits of new technologies vis-à-vis the risks
  • 16. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013Why do we always discuss risk assessments - Why not discuss reward assessments?
  • 17. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 As a society we need totake risks to make progress
  • 18. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013If we dont take the risk, others will take it! Source: European Commission
  • 19. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Large Hadron Collider, GenevaThe risk: Spending billions of poundsfor a machine that smashes particles
  • 20. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 The reward:an unplanned "collateral" invention that has changed our lives
  • 21. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 © National GepgraphicWe need to put risk in relation to reward to be able to take informed decisions
  • 22. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Communication is the key• Scientists need to show empathy for public concerns• Scientists need to be honest about the facts they have and those they dont have• Scientists need to communicate much more proactively – otherwise lobby groups will fill the void• Scientists need to speak a language everybody understands
  • 23. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013But you always need two to tango: We also need politicians who… • are open to listen to the scientific evidence • don’t cherry-pick just the science that suits their view of the world • are transparent about their motivation when – for whatever good reason – they choose to ignore the evidence
  • 24. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 All fine, but: © Winfried GötzingerScientists love uncertainty, while politicians hate it
  • 25. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 What can science do about it? • Reduce uncertainty as far as possible • Communicate uncertainty by using illustrative examples • Offer options for action rather than claiming to have the ultimate solution • Flag where there is strong consensus in the scientific community, withoutOld style of communicating ignoring minority opinions
  • 26. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Scientific consensus is a powerful toolBanning Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)Banning Dichlorodiphenyl- trichloroethane (DDT) Banning Asbestos
  • 27. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013Example: Revision of the Biofuels Directive in the light of scientific evidence
  • 28. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013The science-policy interface needs translators who are respected on both sides to advise on what is consensus and what not
  • 29. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 Wouldnt it be nice if each EU Member State had a Chief Scientific Adviser or its equivalent?Government Chief Scientific Advisers in the EU / EU Member States
  • 30. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013 It costs a lot of efforts to generatehttp://www.ediblegeography.com/glacial-terroir scientific evidence. We shouldnt waste it.
  • 31. STEPS Centre Annual Symposium, University of Sussex, 6 Feb 2013Thank you for your attention! E-mail: ec-csa@ec.europa.eu Twitter: EU_ScienceChief

×