The â€˜Most Important Questionsâ€™ in Science Policy
A series of bitter disagreements between scientists and policy-makers has prompted a group of researchers to create a list of 40 â€œkey unanswered questionsâ€ in an attempt to ease tensions by setting an agenda for future work. Led by scientists at the University of Cambridge, U.K., the group â€” comprising more than 50 scientists, policy experts and policy-makers â€” presents the results of their attempt to â€œidentify the most important outstanding questionsâ€ in PLoS ONE.
The questions are grouped into six broad themes, such as â€œunderstanding the role of scientific evidence in policymakingâ€ and â€œdemocratic governance of scientific adviceâ€. The questions themselves include â€œUnder what conditions does scientific evidence legitimize political decisions?â€ and â€œWhat impact has research on the relationship between science and policy actually had on science policy?â€ Taken as a whole, the questions could help those working in the area to understand where focus is needed in the future, to help to avoid some of the problems that have occurred in the past.