Scientific expertise can form the foundations of evidence-based political decision-making and enrich public discussion.
Hence the Academy maintains an active dialogue with politics and society as part of its duty to the public interest and the common good – in Austria and beyond.
At the same time, as an institution of basic research the Academy considers it its task to reflect on the principles of scientific policy and society advice and to publically discuss the potential, opportunities and limits of scientific consulting.
Policy advice in Austria
The Academy’s recommendations and statements are centred on issues of great social relevance concerning the future, which the OeAW evaluates on a scientific basis and communicates to the public. In doing so, the Academy aids the early recognition of important developments detected in science that may be of great significance for society in the future and which can then be shaped responsibly using this new knowledge.
Current statements by the OeAW:
Advising the Austrian National Council
Together, the OeAW Institute for Technology Assessment and the AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology support the Austrian parliament with their expertise, focussing on questions concerning the societal, economic and political impact of scientific and technological developments.
Policy advice on the European level
As a member of academy associations such as ALLEA – All European Academies or the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), the OeAW is also involved in SAPEA – Science Advice for Policy by European Academies, a project funded by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 programme.
Over 100 European academies from over 40 European countries contribute to the European Scientific Advice Mechanism – SAM. The aim of SAM and SAPEA is to provide the European Commission with independent, transdisciplinary and fact-based science advice. This includes raising politicians’ awareness of concerns within the scientific community and bundling the various European voices in science.
On the European level, the OeAW has been committed to the Joint Science Conferences of the “Western Balkans Process/Berlin Process” since 2015. These conferences aim to strengthen science systems in the Western Balkan region. The results of the conference series are summarised in joint statements serving as independent science-based recommendations for political decision-makers in the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans.