Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University



Social Outreach Seminar: The Role of Scientific Expertise in Policy Making


May 17, 2016

The first social outreach seminar for the 2016 academic year took place at APU on April 15. This presented a unique opportunity for participants to gain first-hand insight into the intersection of science and policy making from Lars Walløe, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of the University of Oslo (Norway) and a former president of the Academia Europaea. The seminar was moderated by College of Asia Pacific Studies Professor Yukiko Takashiba (International Law), who had the opportunity to get to know Professor Walløe in her previous professional capacity.

An audience of sixty-one students joined several faculty members with expertise in environment, sustainable development, and international relations for this seminar. Professor Walløe shared his experience in providing scientific advice on a number issues at the national (Norway), regional (European Union), and international levels.

In today's world, seeking scientific advice is of essence in many domains of society. In any area where human society intervenes with nature, policy decisions involving science and technology must be made as to which direction society should proceed. Professor Walløe shared his insights on what is needed for scientific experts and policy makers to work together, drawing on concrete examples from his involvement in, among other things, a Norwegian research program on acid rain and a Norwegian population panel.

Asked by a participant about how to enlarge the body of experts who can be relied on to advise policy makers at various levels, Professor Walløe emphasized the need to incorporate younger experts in a variety of programs. APU Vice President Fellizar stressed the importance of enhancing a collaborative framework between scientific experts and decision makers, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

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