Basel: Listening to science in times of crisis – Basel

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In the past decade, responsibility for scientific policy advice has been increasingly transferred to public administration. During the pandemic, this has turned out to be a burden on the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) and the Covid-19 task force.

The researcher also addresses the lack of a permanent body in Switzerland that has the explicit legal mandate to advise the government on decisions regarding the financing and structure of science. “As a result, important national decisions in dealing with the epidemic have been made without broad consultation, such as decisions regarding private financing instruments and investments for research, for example in the field of vaccines or clinical studies,” she wrote.

Reward and recognition tips

At the same time, there are hardly any incentives for researchers from universities and research institutions to actively participate in advising on scientific policy. Because they are not compensated financially or through academic recognition. “In general, scientific policy advice is not traditionally part of the scientific culture in Switzerland,” Hoffmanner said. However, the task force has demonstrated that the research community is enthusiastic and willing to engage in scientific policy advice.

In her study, Hofmann continues to recommend reducing the burden on public administration in Switzerland and revising and diversifying national institutions, tools and mechanisms for advising on scientific policy. Specifically, it noted the creation of a Science Policy Advisory Board, a Special Committee to advise on science policy, defining the roles of scientific institutions and enhancing the role of science policy advice for academic careers.

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