War on facts and responsible evidence appraisal in research for policy

Date: Friday 23 August
Time: 12:00-13:00
Venue: Bergen Global, Jekteviksbakken 31

This event is part of the Bergen Exchanges 2019. For a full schedule of the week’s events, see here.

Lecture by Jeroen van der Sluijs

The rapid increase in the use of evidence to legitimise decisions
reflects a pervasive idea that more science equals better policies.
Often, decision makers become mired in contested evidence, beset by
uncertainties and contradictions. In critical challenges, whether
climate change, global pollinator collapse, or genome editing, science
is expected to provide conclusive facts and is often used instrumentally
to suppress disputes. The concept of evidence is in flux and
increasingly subjected to fundamental questions about its nature,
quality and functions. Meanwhile, emerging modes of evidence production
add to controversies on what counts as valid evidence. The relation
between governance and the underlying evidence has itself become
problematic, reflecting ongoing changes in knowledge production and use.
This lecture will explore the problems with the use and abuse of
evidence for governance and will sketch pathways to more responsible
practices of evidence appraisal and use.

Background papers:
Making sense of science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty

Numbers running wild Chapter 5 in Bennessia et al 2016 Science on the verge

Exploring the quality of evidence for complex and contested policy decisions