Ecosystems of expertise: design elements for robust science advice

There are many approaches explaining how scientific analysis can better inform public policy. In this seminar, I will take an ecosystem approach towards scientific expertise and science-based policy advice. From a bird’s perspective, providing scientific advice to public policy-making aims at increasing the resilience of democratic societies, i.e. to enhance the political actors’ capabilities to develop policy options that are robust in the light of uncertainty, complexity, dynamic change and ambiguity. I will give a brief outline of the design elements that govern the relationship between scientific expertise, political representation and decision-making, thereby focusing on the notions of epistemic and political robustness. I will conclude with a recent and controversial example of an advisory process from Germany that raises the question whether, under what circumstances and to what extent policy advice legitimately adopts a political stance on public policy issues.