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Science advice to governments

As policy experts gather in Auckland this week for the first global conference on science advice to governments, a Nature news feature explores advisers' experiences in three recent crises. Meanwhile, Nature and Scientific American bring together highlights of their rich archives on the relationships between scientists, policy-makers and the public.

Image credit: WHP/Alamy

News Features

  • Crisis counsellors

    Volcanic eruptions, oil spills and bacterial outbreaks all land in the laps of government science advisers, and put them to the test.

    Nature (27 August 2014)

  • Bird-flu research: The biosecurity oversight

    The fight over mutant flu has thrown the spotlight on a little-known government body that oversees dual-use research. Some are asking if it was up to the task.

    Nature (23 May 2012)

  • Newsmaker of the year: The power player

    As a physicist, Steven Chu found a way to capture atoms and won a Nobel prize. Now the US energy secretary is marshalling scientists and engineers to transform the world's biggest energy economy.

    Nature (20 December 2009)


  • Research: A standard for policy-relevant science

    Ian Boyd, science adviser to DEFRA, the UK government department for environment, food and rural affairs, calls for an auditing process to help policy-makers to navigate research bias.

    Nature (11 September 2013)

  • Science policy: Beyond the great and good

    Chief scientific advisers need better support and networks to ensure that science advice to governments is robust, say Robert Doubleday and James Wilsdon.

    Nature (16 May 2012)

  • Essays: Science and policy

    In a series of nine weekly essays, experienced advisers on science policy, including to the US, UK and Swedish governments, reflect on the highs and lows of being at the intersection of science and society.

    Nature (29 November 2007)

  • Essays: Meetings That Changed The World

    This series covers six scientific meetings that had such a great impact, they can be said to have changed the world. Each piece is written by an expert who attended the conference in question.

    Nature (16 October 2008)

  • Column: Party of One

    For the past 20 years, David Goldston has been at the heart of forging US science and environmental policy. His Nature column ran from 2007 to 2009 and provided a seasoned insider's take on the interaction between science and politics.

    Nature (05 November 2009)


Scientific American

  • In-depth report: In defense of science

    Investments in basic research are necessary to ensure the continued success of the US, four expert witnesses — including Scientific American’s editor in chief — told Congress.

    Scientific American (22 July 2014)

Palgrave Communications

  • Collection on Science Advice to Governments

    A collection of open access research articles offering perspectives on the theory, practice and politics of scientific advice, edited by James Wilsdon and Peter Gluckman.

    Palgrave Communications (03 May 2016)

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