The ‘Most Important Questions’ in Science Policy

The ‘Most Important Questions’ in Science Policy

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A series of bitter disagreements between scientists and policy-makers has prompted a group of researchers to create a list of 40 “key unanswered questions” 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 — comprising more than 50 scientists, policy experts and policy-makers — presents the results of their attempt to “identify the most important outstanding questions” in PLoS ONE.

The questions are grouped into six broad themes, such as “understanding the role of scientific evidence in policymaking” and “democratic governance of scientific advice”. The questions themselves include “Under what conditions does scientific evidence legitimize political decisions?” and “What impact has research on the relationship between science and policy actually had on science policy?” 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.

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