Based on my experiences and continuing responsibilities, I look forward to opportunities to continue my involvement in the process ISGP has started. I have in fact encouraged Italian authorities to launch a “Foresight Project” which takes advantage of the ISGP debate caucus format. … [ISGP] succeeds in taking participants beyond both passive listening and closed-minded arguing to true discourse and discovery of common ground. The ISGP conferences allow the participants not only to broaden the understanding of the topic, but also make connections with individuals from different international arenas with whom the contacts are rare, providing opportunities for future collaborations.
I have been able to take many of the learnings and trends, both in science and policy, identified in these meetings back to my workplace and use them when generating strategies for new scientific research, product development, and implementation. … I also believe that policy makers are now more aware of the issues being faced by private sector scientists because of the ISGP’s efforts. This public/private sector interaction is crucial if we intend to continue to drive scientific discovery as we all work to improve the human experience.
I have spent my entire career in government relations. It has been my experience that if the accuracy and integrity of scientific and technological information cannot be established with confidence, then the following policy decisions will be deeply suspect. … [The ISGP] approach is highly successful in improving communication between scientists and policy makers. I am not aware of any other organization with a process that allows multiple scientific and societal perspectives to be presented, challenged, discussed, all in confidence, and then integrated into specific points of consensus and action steps.
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
ISGP conferences being planned around the country are designed to give American citizens an opportunity to judge for themselves if climate change is an important issue in their lifestyle choices and in the decisions made by their communities. ISGP is a not-for-profit organization that does to lobby on specific issues but rather fosters an effective engagement between credible scientists and policy makers at levels that can be understood by the average citizen. It is exactly what our community needs to reach reasonable conclusions regarding climate change.
In my former role as a Senior Principal Advisor on Chemical & Biological Defence and Head of International Research for the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory [...] I was able to participate in all of the ISGP meetings on EPID [Emerging and Persistent Infectious Diseases] until 2013. The information gained at these meetings was invaluable in providing a diverse perspective on the various views of a wide range of academics, industry and government personnel. It provided an unique forum in gathering together latest thinking on S&T and policy and highlighting critical gaps that needed to be addressed both at the S&T and policy levels. Prof Atkinson has shown remarkable leadership and credibility across a multidisciplinary field in his ability in gathering together a wide range of high level thinkers from diverse backgrounds to address these issues. The ISGP conferences on EPID have provided an unique opportunity to get leading experts in both thought leadership on EPID, scientific advancement and policy to agree on key points that need to be addressed. The ISGP forums have highlighted the complexity of dealing with real world problems and how issues cannot be dealt with in isolation but require a multidisciplinary approach across the scientific, social science and policy areas. Prof Atkinson and the ISGP provide an environment where credible options in addressing these significant issues can be presented and discussed candidly.
Imperial College, London
Over a number of years, the UK Ministry of Defence science programme has benefitted considerably from interaction with the Institute on Science for Global Policy. In particular, the series of ISGP Conferences on Emerging and Persistent Infectious diseases was instrumental in my decision to establish an UK MOD research project on the implications for such diseases on the UK Armed Forces. As a decision maker in the UK Defence science leadership, I have benefitted hugely from the conference format in which renowned world experts are subjected to detailed questioning from their peers in a closely-held confidential process. From my perspective, the unique format developed by the ISPG is precisely tailored to meet the needs of senior decision-makers from the full range of disciplines affected and involved in the major scientific issues we face now and in the future.
What was most appealing and unusual about this not-for-profit organization, relative to a number of other organizations that sponsor workshops or convene groups of experts, is the caucus format. [...] The final product of this process is a written publication that captures the essence of the dialogue. It identifies tangible approaches to fill the gaps in needed action. Furthermore, it is all developed by the assembled individuals working as a team to hone the message. The unique ISGP process allows multiple scientific and societal perspectives to be presented, challenged, discussed and then integrated into specific points of consensus and action steps. […] Not only are these events highly effective at improving communication between scientists and policy makers, but also are exceptionally well executed.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
ISGP Intern TestimonialsWorking with the ISGP was a very unique experience. As someone who is planning on attending medical school, it doesn’t seem like the most obvious internship, but I found that it was actually very relevant to my interests. I’m interested in public health, and seeing how science intersects with policy making was eye-opening. Experiences over the summer such as listening in on interviews with individuals with different expertise in the field of FSSD and completing the policy interface assignment helped me to see the complexity of the policy making process and the importance of engaging policy makers with the scientific community so that better policy decisions can be made. Attending the ISGP Conference was also an invaluable part of the internship experience. It was one thing to read and edit the presenters’ papers and listen in on interviews over the summer, but the conference provided a more real-life experience. It was very interesting seeing the interaction between the different participants and presenters who all have different experience and expertise and who all had valuable insights to contribute to the debates whether they were a restaurant owner, a farmer, a scientist, or involved in policy.
Working with the ISGP has given me a unique opportunity to interact with scientists and professionals of different fields all with a common interest in food security. Being an intern has allowed me to learn about these topics from a variety of perspectives, and I feel more informed about the issues surrounding the global food system. In addition, working with the ISGP has shown me the value of communication between individuals and the challenges of coming to agreement at times. Overall, the internship has been a great supplement to my academic education.
My experience as an intern with the ISGP taught me to work with a team to coordinate a high-profile event while simultaneously learning the intricacies of pertinent scientific issues facing society. The training at a true ISGP conference was invaluable in planning the spring 2014 IAP conference at Ursinus, and being an intern of the ISGP definitely allowed me to take a leadership position during the preparation for the IAP conference.
Name: Prof. Jakob Zinsstag, Swiss TPH
15 Apr 2015
Thank you very much for the kind invitation to participate in the conference at George Mason University. I found the format a very interesting way to debate the issues, and the opportunity for dialogue was highly valuable in initiating contact.
I would enjoy the opportunity to attend other conferences which are organized by the Institute on Science for Global Policy.
Name: Giorgio Einaudi, Science & Technology Foresight Project
15 Apr 2015
My involvement with the ISGP started at the very beginning of its activity and was motivated by my long-standing concern about the accuracy with which credible scientific and technological information is used in policy decisions, both in the public and private sectors...ISGP, besides allowing multiple scientific and societal perspectives to be presented, challenged, discussed and then to be integrated into specific points of consensus and action steps, it also succeds in taking participants beyond both passive listening and closed-minded arguing to true discourse and discovery of common ground.
Name: Rebecca Keenan, Ursinus College
15 Apr 2015
Experiences over the summer such as listening in on interviews with individuals with different expertise in the field of FSSD and completing the policy interface assignment helped me to see the complexity of the policy making process and the importance of engaging policy makers with the scientific community so that better policy decisions can be made.