20140603_01_Sherien El-Agroudy with Ban Ki Moon at 1st SAB Meeting
© DUK/photothek

On 30 January GYA co-chair Rees Kassen and member Sherien El-Agroudy were part of a delegation of six young scientists invited to present at the inaugural meeting of the United Nation’s new Scientific Advisory Board. The SAB is composed of 26 eminent scientists from around the world and many different disciplines.

The creation of the SAB marks an important new direction for the UN, as it is the first time that such a high-level board has been struck to provide advice on science and policy directly to the UN Secretary-General and executive heads of UN organizations. During his remarks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the importance of science and technology for strengthening policy- and decision-making on sustainable development, reducing inequality and eradicating extreme poverty.

The presentation by the young scientists emphasized the importance and value of public science, that is, science that provides ideas and innovation for the public good and increases public engagement in the scientific process. We highlighted three areas that the SAB should consider in their work that can promote public science:

* Ensuring open-access to knowledge, data and infrastructure

* Building public trust in decision-making by ensuring the transparent use of knowledge

* Supporting more direct engagement by the scientists in decision-making, with the media, and with the public at large.

The delegation also encouraged the SAB to use the growing network of Young Academies, including the Global Young Academy, in their work. The text of the young scientists’ presentation is available publicly from on the SAB website.