How independent is science? Experts from over 50 European academies of science discussed science’s proximity and distance to politics and society at the ALLEA general assembly at the OeAW.
Science, politics, and society cannot be considered in isolation from one another. And yet the freedom, interests, and possibilities of reciprocal codetermination must constantly be renegotiated if productive tension is to be maintained between the freedom of science and its usefulness to society.
This was the general tenor of the general assembly of ALLEA – All European Academies. The OeAW hosted the annual event for the first time from 18–19 April 2016, bringing together representatives of a total of 57 European academies of science to consider “The Freedom of Scientific Research in the Face of Political and Societal Demands”.
Speakers included the British quantum physicist Sir Peter Knight, ERC president Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, the German philosopher and former commissioner for culture and media Julian Nida-Rümelin, the Austrian legal scholar and former president of the Supreme Court Irmgard Griss, the Hungarian mathematician László Lovász, the Austrian social anthropologist and Wittgenstein prize winner Andre Gingrich, and the Italo-Dutch linguist Roberta d’Alessandro.