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A Bias Radar for Responsible Policy-Making

Foresight-Based Scientific Advice

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Argues that emotions affect the understanding of scientific evidence
  • Examines how foresight thinking can anticipate the impact of scientific developments and emerging technologies on citizens’ lives
  • Develops practical guidance for planning, conducting and communicating robust scientific advice to policymakers

Part of the book series: St Antony's Series (STANTS)

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About this book

Policymakers prepare society for the future and this book provides a practical toolkit for preparing pro-active, future-proof scientific policy advice for them. It explains how to make scientific advisory strategies holistic. It also explains how and where biases, which interfere with the proper functioning of the entire science-policy ecosystem, arise and investigates how emotions and other biases affect the understanding and assessment of scientific evidence. The book advocates explorative foresight, systems thinking, interdisciplinarity, bias awareness and the anticipation of undesirable impacts in policy advising, and it offers practical guidance for them. Written in an accessible style, the book offers provocative reflections on how scientific policy advice should be sensitive to more than scientific evidence. It is both an appealing introductory text for everyone interested in science-based policy and a valuable guide for the experienced scientific adviser and policy scholar.

"This book is a valuable read for all stakeholders in the scientific advisory ecosystem. Lieve Van Woensel offers concrete methods to bridge the gap between scientific advice and policy making, to assess the possible societal impacts of complex scientific and technological developments, and to support decision-makers’ more strategic understanding of the issues they have to make decisions about. I was privileged to see them proove their value as I worked with Lieve on the pilot project of the Scientific Foresight unit for The European Parliament’s STOA panel.” - Kristel Van der Elst, CEO, The Global Foresight Group; Executive Head, Policy Horizons Canada

“A must-read for not only scientific policy advisers, but also those interested in the ethics of scientific advisory processes. Lieve Van Woensel walks readers through a well-structured practical toolkit that bases policy advice on more than scientific evidence by taking into account policies’ potential effects on society and the environment.” - Dr Paul Rübig, Former Member of the European Parliament and former Chair of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology

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Table of contents (5 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scientific Foresight Unit, European Parliamentary Research Service, Brussels, Belgium

    Lieve Van Woensel

About the author

Lieve Van Woensel is Head of Service at the European Parliament, where she introduced foresight methodologies into scientific advisory processes. She has a broad scientific background, has worked for over 30 years at the science-policy interface, and was the EU Visiting Fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK, 2017-2018.

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