Koen Vermeir, the Co-Chair of GYA’s Science Advice Working Group, was invited to act as a Panellist during the “Science meets Parliaments” event at the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 November 2017 to provide the perspective of young scientists on the event’s topic, “The role of science in a Post-fact Society”. The event gathered members of the European Parliament who form the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) together with young scientists from around the world.
Vermeir drew a clear line between scientists and experts in his comments at the event. He stated that scientists are no experts in the first place. Rather, scientists are good at asking questions and pushing the limits of knowledge; they should therefore avoid selling pre-packaged knowledge. Vermeir also added that one can describe scientists as people who live in a pre-fact world and are therefore well-equipped to cope with the post-fact condition.
Science Meets Parliaments is the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s flagship initiative organized in collaboration with the STOA panel. The initiative highlights the importance of building closer links between scientists and EU policy-makers, and has become a key annual event at the European Parliament in Brussels.
In her welcoming remarks, Lívia Járóka, the Vice President of the European Parliament, called for better opportunities to include the most recent scientific data available in science statements for the parliament. This call for more direct communication between researchers and parliamentarians was seconded during the opening session by Vladimir Sucha, the Director General of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Sucha said that scientists cannot exclude values when bringing their findings into the political sphere. The JRC aims to highlight this necessity in its new programme called Enlightenment 2.0.
The programme also included Statements by Paul Ruebig, first Vice-Chair of STOA, as well as Tibor Navracsics, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, who is responsible for the Joint Research Centre. A panel discussion on the role of science in a post-fact society was moderated by Eva Kaili, MEP and STOA Chair.
More information on the event can be found here.