The Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP) has pioneered the development of a new type of international forum based on a series of invitation-only conferences. These ISGP conferences are designed to provide articulate, distinguished scientists and technologists opportunities to concisely present their views of the credible S&T options available for addressing major geopolitical and security issues. ISGP conferences are convened on different aspects (e.g., surveillance, prevention, or mitigation) of a broad, overarching topic, such as food safety, security, and defense; or emerging and persistent infectious diseases. The format used emphasizes written and oral, policy-oriented S&T presentations and extensive debates led by an international cross section of the policy community. The current realities, relevant S&T-based options, and policy issues are debated among a few scientists selected by the ISGP and an international group of government, private sector, and societal leaders. Those invited by the ISGP to any given conference are selected following consultations with the participating governments and organizations. ISGP conferences reflect global perspectives and seek to provide government as well as private sector and community leaders with the clear, accurate understanding of the real-world challenges and potential solutions (and foreseeable risks) critical to determining sound public policies.
ISGP programs rely on the validity of two overarching principles:
- Scientifically credible understanding must be closely linked to the realistic policy decisions made by governmental and societal leaders in addressing both the urgent and long-term challenges facing 21st century societies. Effective decisions rely on strong domestic and global public endorsements that motivate active and sustained support.
- Communication among scientific and policy communities requires significant improvement, especially concerning decisions concerning how to use or reject the often transformational scientific and technological opportunities continually emerging from the global research communities. Effective decisions are facilitated in venues where the advantages and risks of credible options are candidly presented and critically debated among internationally distinguished subject matter experts, policy makers, and private sector and community stakeholders.