EUA webinar series: Universities and democracy: how to strengthen a crucial relationship

We live in times of uncertainty and accelerated change. Pressure on political, economic and social systems is further increasing as we move from the pandemic into a new phase of major geopolitical tensions. Political decisions in times of crisis have to be taken fast and often happen outside the regular policy making processes. What does this mean for the role of evidence in decision-making? Evidence-based policy making is an important element of knowledge societies. Countries have different ways of integrating science advice into the political decision-making process, whether through independent bodies and committees on specific topics, commissioned research, or the advice of individual experts and academics.

The pandemic has shown the value, but also the challenges, of science advice to policy making. It raises a number of questions for the future. How can we make sure that scientific results are used appropriately in political decision-making? What is the role of universities and individual scientists in this? Do we need new science advice mechanisms, and what can we learn from the pandemic? The third webinar in the series discussed these questions with experts from across Europe.


  • Phillip Nolan, Professor and Director General, Science Foundation Ireland
  • Jaakko Kuosmanen, Academy Secretary, Sofi (Science Advice Initiative of Finland)
  • Mathieu Denis, Acting CEO and Science Director, International Science Council

Watch the recording here:


EUA webinar series: Universities and democracy: how to strengthen a crucial relationship

Universities work best in democracies, and democracies need open and engaged universities working in the service of society.

Following on from the reflections in the democracy chapter of EUA’s “Pathways to the future” publication, this webinar series will further explore the relationship between universities and democracy along three themes: civic engagement; scientific literacy and the future of science communication; and evidence-based policy making and science advice in times of uncertainty.

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