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Pedro Sánchez reinforces the Government with more than 50 scientific advisors

Pedro Sánchez reinforces the Government with more than 50 scientific advisors

Jeickson Sulbaran

June 21, 2024 | 12:00 pm

Spain prepares to lead in Europe with a new body of scientific advisors that will improve public policies and emergency response

Pedro Sánchez has announced a revolutionary measure: the creation of a body of more than 50 scientific advisors for the goverment. This team aims improve public policies through an evidence-based response and facilitate the creation of strategies long-term. The initial investment will be 10 million euros per year, which marks a before and after in the history of scientific advice in Spain.

Pedro Sánchez reinforces the Government with more than 50 scientific advisors

The lack of scientific advisors in the Government has been a historical deficiency that Spain seeks to alleviate. Other European countries, the United States and Canada have these key figures, and Sánchez intends that Spain leads in Europe in this ambit. The calls to be part of this new ranking have been published today, opening the door to scientists from all disciplines with a doctorate and curiosity about public administration.

Scientific integration in administration

Each of the 22 Government ministries will have a scientific advisor in their cabinet, including the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities led by Diana Morant. These advisors will have the crucial task of answer questions from politicians and build bridges between scientific evidence and administration. This new approach aims to close the gap of incomprehension that often exists between both worlds.

In his speech, Sánchez highlighted the importance of facing social, technological and environmental challenges with the support of the vast scientific knowledge generated in universities and research centers. «We face very complex challenges. To overcome them, we have to take advantage of scientific knowledge," said the president. Moncloa has made it clear that it expects the active participation of the Spanish scientific community in this new initiative.

National Scientific Advisory Office

The coordination of this new system will be in charge of the National Scientific Advisory Office (ONAC), directed by Josep Lobera, former collaborator of Diana Morant. ONAC will depend on the Presidency of the Government and will work under the supervision of the General Secretariat of Public Policies. In total, there will be 12 advisors who will make up this office, which will also have a new office at the CSIC.

The intention is to begin filling these positions after the summer, with ministerial advisors selected by October. Furthermore, there will be scientists who will spend six months as advisors on specific topics at the request of each ministry. This group of advisors will be aimed at doctors interested in translating scientific complexity into a language accessible to administration.

The new "national ecosystem of scientific advice" will also include a scholarship program for research applied to public policies. With an endowment of two million euros, these scholarships will be allocated to research groups to analyze and evaluate public policies, using techniques such as randomized controlled trials.

Protocols for emergencies and continuity of the initiative

The Government also plans to establish a new protocol to activate scientific advisory groups in crisis and emergency situations. This protocol seeks to ensure that administrations have defined mechanisms to consult experts quickly and rigorously. "Scientific rigor must guide our decisions, even in moments of maximum urgency," said Sánchez.

To guarantee the continuity of this initiative beyond the current legislature, The Government has worked to depoliticize the new system and ensure recognition of these positions among the scientific community. According to Presidency sources, there have been conversations with all political parties about this measure, except with Vox, and there is a perception that it is a useful measure.

In Spain it is preparing to take a step forward in the integration of science in public administration, with the aim of more effectively facing the challenges of the present and of the future. This ambitious project seeks not only to improve public policies, but also to foster closer collaboration between scientists and politicians, thus ensuring a more informed and efficient government.

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