ALLEA 25th anniversary: Science and Society in Present-day Europe, 8-10 May, Bern

15 April 2019

In 2019, ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, will celebrate its 25th anniversary during its annual General Assembly, hosted by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. EUA Secretary General Leslie Wilson will be attending the panel discussion. 

As in all jubilees, there should be room for pride and celebration, but also for appraisal and critique; to look at past achievements with the eyes of the present, in order to prepare a better future.

The last quarter century has been a period of tremendous change in the field of science, which has affected both disciplinary discourses and patterns of institutional governance: on the one hand, research topics such as energy, health or data science have become transdisciplinary and acquired the status of global challenges. On the other hand, European scientific institutions have become motors of excellence and innovation with a high impact on the transformation of European societies in our digital age.

Yet, public confidence in the guiding role of science in shaping our future seems to be increasingly called into question. Does European science blossom, while European societies ache? Political discourse is frequently driven by algorithms of acceptance rather than by scientific or scholarly expertise. Our common cultural values, rooted in the curiosity and tolerance of the Enlightenment, are increasingly challenged. Different perceptions and narratives of Europe threaten to divide our societies, leaving a vacuum of haunting uncertainty about the future.

What role can European academies play to provide a bridge between production and diffusion of knowledge for the benefit of society? How can they contribute their share to the anchoring of the underlying values of the Enlightenment upon which scientific progress is based?

For more information, please visit the event website.

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