International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)

The emerging pandemic saw INGSA’s 2020 work programme take a strong pivot towards issues of crisis response, particularly in tracking the science advice mechanisms that played a role in evidence adoption by governments.

Physical distancing

Early in the pandemic, INGSA also acted as a rapid-response conduit between national public health agencies and research organizations.

In response to the sudden and fragmented increase in discussions on how evidence does and should inform policy, INGSA launched a digital Covid-19 Information Hub to aggregate and share resources. The site became a valuable hub for how science advice and evidence functions in emergencies, including collections of commentary pieces, publications and webinars and interviews with relevant experts and practitioners.

The pandemic also saw INGSA leverage its global capacities for citizen science, with the launch of the cross-country Covid-19 policymaking tracker as a live web-based data collection tool for tracking policy interventions and their supporting evidence/justifications at national and subnational levels. Volunteer rapporteurs from over 100 jurisdictions were enlisted for data collection efforts, enabling INGSA to release a preliminary report drawing on exploratory findings from the policy tracker.

In partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the INGSA Knowledge Associate programme has provided professional development grants to six early-to-mid career researchers and policy professionals in low and middle income countries to undertake deep-dive case studies on their country’s use of evidence in policy decisions related to COVID-19.

INGSA has also been an active collaborator in the UK-based International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO), the goal of which is to rapidly provide scientific evidence and international policy experience around COVID-19 to policy-makers. The project has resulted in several outputs, including joint reports in collaboration with the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker.

In lieu of a biennial conference, INGSA hosted an online Global Week of Dialogue in mid-September 2020, bringing together science advice experts to discuss key early lessons for governments, scientists and policy-makers at the interfaces of science and policy.

2020 also saw the INGSA Regional Chapters in Africa, Asia and Latin America further increase their impact and reach through a range of collaborations and activities.


Image: Belinda Fewings via Unsplash.

Next up: The digital revolution 

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