Roundtable 2 – How can we improve the provision of more consistent science and technology advice in support of risk governance and sustainable innovation?
Managing the crucial relationship between technological innovation, risk governance and public acceptability
Today’s risk governance in fields related to or involving science and technology requires:
Enabling of scientific and technological developments, for the benefits that they can bring to society;
Regulation, to mitigate the potential attendant risks;
Social acceptability, implying a good collaboration between science and society;
Building effective bridges between these three components.
The roundtable was a dialogue between scientists and practitioners on some of the issues that are involved in the provision of science and technology advice for policy, innovation and risk governance. It was facilitated by Prof. Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University.
Expert contributions were organised along two themes:
Theme 1: Institutions for technically-based risk and policy analysis: an overview of the situation in the US, in Europe and in Asia
In the US: Institutions for technically-based risk and policy analysis: an overview from the US(Granger Morgan, Head of the Department of Engineering Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Chairman of the IRGC Scientific and Technical Council);
In Europe: Promoting academic networks for better S&T advice: An overview from Europe(Manuel Heitor, Former Secretary of State of Science and Technology, Portugal);
In India: [An overview of the situation from India] (V.S. Arunachalam, Chairman of the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy – CSTEP, Bangalore);
In China: S&T Advice for Risk Governance and Innovation: the Case of China(Xue Lan, Professor and Dean, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing);
New approaches to providing credible scientific understanding to policymakers(George Atkinson, former science and technology adviser, US government; Director, Institute on Science for Global Policy).
Theme 2: Public and private regulation and incentives
[Planned Adaptation and Risk Governance: Pharmaceuticals, Aviation and Biotechnology] (Ken Oye, Associate Professor of Political Science and Engineering Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology);
Inappropriate Governance of Risks in Life Sciences: food security and health issues(Joyce Tait, Scientific Advisor, ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics – INNOGEN, UK);
EU regulatory context for innovative technologies(Anna Gergely, Director, EHS Regulatory, Steptoe & Johnson LLP);
Cyber Security and the governance of risks affecting critical infrastructures(João Barros, Associate Professor, University of Porto and Head of the Instituto de Telecomunicações, Portugal).
Other experts and practitioners were invited to contribute.
Some comments from participants
“[IRGC] play[s] an important role providing a forum for candid discussion on the governance of public risk. As a result, I was able to better benchmark our efforts […] with those elsewhere, compare national philosophies of approach and find some quality ‘thinking time’ to process my thoughts in a very creative environment. Hugely appreciated.”
“[The roundtable] provided lots of stimulating ideas for me to take away and incorporate into my day-to-day practice.”
“Good mix of steered discussions and liberty for expression of alternate/additional views.”
“The discussion [was] of very [high] quality with incisive, quality contributions across the piece. [IRGC] did a very solid job in capturing inputs, not allowing the same voices to dominate and setting out a well-structured and timely agenda of questions for us to tackle.”
“I learned a lot about how policy and risk analyses are handled in different industrial fields. Lots of good ideas that could – and should – be applied to the nuclear industry. Very interesting participants and highly qualified – Excellent, high level discussion.”
Detailed Programme for Roundtable 2 [PDF]
Participants in roundtable 2 included a diverse mix of experts from the public sector (regulatory agencies or government representatives including from Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom), the private sector (e.g., Swiss Re, Novartis, F. Hoffman-La Roche, Du Pont de Nemours International, National Grid), academia (e.g., MIT, Tsinghua University, EPFL, ETHZ), research institutes and independent organisations.