The Israel Young Academy hosted the Asian Young Academies Meeting in Jerusalem on 11-12 February 2018 with the theme: “Science and Society: Challenges and Prospects”. Representatives from both the GYA and from a number of National Young Academies participated.
As can be expected from the theme, the discussions centred around the role of young scientists in general, and national young academies in particular, in impacting the wider public through science. In her address to the meeting on the second day, the President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Professor Nili Cohen, reminded those present that there was plenty of potential for impact through partnering with the Senior Academies, whose wider networks can be of benefit to the young academies.
Moreover, presentations showcased the many ways in which individuals and research groups can contribute to the greater understanding of the challenges faced by our societies; these ranged from mobilising local communities to address the lack of safe drinking water in West Africa using ancient technologies, to cutting-edge research into the promise of genetic science in finding effective remedies for schizophrenia and other such genetic conditions.
Participants from the young academies also discussed how they could be more impactful at the level of their National Young Academies. Experiences in the room revealed that the most successful policy interventions at that level targeted the policy arenas with which members were most familiar, and to which they had direct access. One example of this was a survey by the Israel Young Academy looking into the working conditions of early-career researchers, the results of which were shared with university managers in Israel and which resulted in a direct improvement of these conditions. This survey shares some similarities with the GYA’s GloSYS studies, e.g. the GloSYS ASEAN report whose findings continue to be shared with key stakeholders, or the current GloSYS Africa project.