From renewable energy to privacy legislation and high-value food crops, science can help tackle the international challenges of our time. The Academy wants to extend science’s influence on domestic and international policy by connecting scientific expertise to modern-day issues.
It does this in Europe within the context of the European Commission’s Scientific Advisory Mechanism, but also by bringing together scientists in various European alliances to heighten the advisory role of science. Thanks to these efforts, the Academy is the Netherlands’ science ambassador to Europe and the rest of the world.
Science for policy: advising the European Commission
The European Commission needs independent, quality scientific advice. That is why its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, launched the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) in May 2015. At the heart of the SAM is a High Level Group of Scientific Advisors consisting of seven top European scientists, including former Academy President Pearl Dykstra.
The High Level Group delivers scientific opinions at the request of Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, to help the Commission develop evidence-based policy. The High Level Group does not conduct research itself, but reviews and interprets existing, authoritative insights. The Academy sees that the work of Dutch researchers is included.
The High level Group has issued its first opinion on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions (pdf), underpinning a new Commission policy proposal concerning post-2020 emission performance standards. The High Level Group is currently working on opinions addressing cybersecurity, food from oceans, agricultural biotechnology, and pesticide legislation.
The five leading alliances of European academies have joined forces in SAPEA (Scientific Advice to Policy by European Academies). This initiative allows European scientists to concentrate their interdisciplinary expertise in opinions intended for the European Commission.
The Academy’s international aims are described in Science and Scholarship Connect, its strategic agenda for 2016-2020:
- Increase the impact of science on Dutch and European policy (Aim 4)
- Help reinforce national and international networks and research infrastructures (Aim 6).
Read more in the strategic agenda Science and Scholarship Connect.
Policy for science: concentrating forces
Open access, intellectual property, digitisation, international exchanges – the Academy believes that scientists in Europe and worldwide should work together strategically to improve the quality and impact of research. The Academy is represented on the boards of many key European and global academy federations, where it devotes itself to concentrating forces and harmonising strategies for the future. One current topic of concern is ‘open science’, i.e. efforts to provide free access to scientific publications, optimise the reuse of research data, and see that science is firmly rooted in society. The Academy is also one of twelve members of Neth-ER, an association that serves as an advance party for Dutch education and research in Brussels. Through its membership of Neth-ER, the Academy contributes to the development of the European Research Area, the European Higher Education Area and the European Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation.
A global perspective on scientific excellence
The Academy is dedicated to the cause of science worldwide. As a member of the IAP and ICSU, it supports academies and scientific networks in emerging countries, for example on the African continent.
It has longstanding research partnerships with Indonesia and China. Although the funding programmes for these partnerships will be gradually phased out, the partnerships between researchers – some of whom have been working together for dozens of years – will continue wherever possible.