2019 IAP Conference and General Assembly

How can academies continue to be relevant in a fast-changing world?

Professor Rajae El Aouad, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rabat (Presentation)

Self-improvement of the academies has been the cornerstone of the lAP project "Improving scientific input to global policymaking", so that they are better able to play their part in applying science to society- and, specifically, support the implementation of the SDGs. An lAP survey of national science academies in 2017 revealed that, whilst they acknowledged they had an important role to play in supporting the SDGs, many felt insufficiently prepared to do so. Both senior and young academies indicated that they did not know clearly how to engage in complex and apparently disconnected policy processes in their countries; some indicated they felt invisible or underutilized by their government. Added to this, the world is changing with the rise of new modes of ideas exchange; a demand for more inclusive, democratic decision-making; and a growing skepticism of knowledge and expertise.

These factors gave rise to the preparation of a paper on the role of the academies in the 21st century, prepared by the project's international working group, which has been shared with all lAP member academies. This paper will form the basis of the presentation. The lAP Triennial Conference provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the challenges academies face and how they may need to evolve to better meet them. This will include how they work together, with others, across discipli­nes, and in a more service-oriented way.