Policy for Science

Who to trust on Covid-19? When science advice gets “dirty” in the political mud


ALLEA is part of PERITIA, an international research project exploring the conditions under which people trust expertise used for shaping public policy, and invites you to a PERITIA interactive panel discussion on 2 November 2020, 14:00-15:00 (CET).

The Covid-19 pandemic has become a real-time test for trust in expertise. Since the beginning of the crisis, scientific experts have been in the centre of public attention; some as independent voices, others as direct advisers to politicians; often in uncomfortable positions and perhaps too frequently contradicting each other. Some experts have turned into celebrities, enjoying praise but also receiving strong criticism and even, at times, being targeted by political campaigns. At the same time, the effectiveness of the policies to tackle the pandemic relies, to a large extent, on citizens’ trust in those experts and the politicians in charge of urgent decisions.

What lessons can we draw from the handling of the pandemic for understanding trust in policy-driven expertise? How have different countries dealt with the delicate enterprise of communicating and relying on uncertain and evolving evidence and advice in extremely difficult times? Is a loss of public trust in expertise the “collateral damage” of this crisis or are people trusting experts more than before?

In an interactive moderated discussion, leading experts of the PERITIA project will shed light on the different strategies used to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe and their impact on trust in expertise. The open roundtable discussion will be moderated by Shane Bergin and actively engage the audience through polls and an extended interactive Q&A session. Send us your questions live or in advance at



Susana Irles, ALLEA Communications and Media Relations Officer