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Guiding the Future of Science: introducing the Centre for Science Futures

The Centre for Science Futures will operate as a think tank within the International Science Council, aiming to improve our understanding of current trends in science and research systems, and to provide options and tools for appropriate action.

11 May 2023, Paris, France

The International Science Council (ISC) announces the official launch of the Centre for Science Futures, an in-house think tank whose primary objective is to provide thought leadership and guidance on science for policy and the future of the scientific ecosystem. The Centre will cater to members of the International Science Council (ISC) and the broader scientific community.

The Centre for Science Futures was enthusiastically inaugurated during the ISC Mid-term Member meeting in Paris. Distinguished speakers, including ISC President Peter Gluckman, and esteemed deans Arancha Laya Gonzalez and Stéphanie Balme from Sciences Po, spoke at the launch.

“The ISC is positioned to actively envision the future of science, providing our Members with crucial insights to ensure their agility and enable them to make impactful contributions in the coming years. That is precisely why we have established the Centre for Science Futures, which will collaborate closely with our Members and the intellectual community. This initiative reflects the ISC’s commitment to optimizing its engagements for the benefit of its Members, not just for the next few years, but for the decades to come”.

Peter Gluckman, ISC President

We find ourselves in an era of unparalleled fragmentation. This makes it imperative for the worlds of science and governance to forge stronger connections and build closer bridges. Science does not exist in a vacuum; it is intricately woven into the fabric of society.

Arancha González, Dean of PSIA at Sciences Po

Taking the stage, Mathieu Denis, Senior Director at the ISC and Head of the Centre, presented the compelling vision and objectives for the new venture, while introducing the Centre’s Advisory Council responsible for guiding its strategies and plans. In addition to the Advisory Council, a dynamic group of Research Associates will collaborate closely, lending their expertise to develop projects supporting the Centre’s far-reaching ambitions.

The story behind the Centre started with thinking about what science needs in order to thrive. We have created a team to operate as a think tank inside the ISC that will focus on emerging trends in science and policy for science issues, to gather evidence, develop resources, and conduct foresight exercises relevant to our Members, providing them with the insights they need for the future.

Mathieu Denis, Head of the Centre for Science Futures

In its first month, the Centre made significant contributions by releasing two publications, – one delving into the prospects for transdisciplinarity in research, the second shedding light on the future of research evaluation. Three additional publications are set to be unveiled in the coming months, along with a podcast series.

Looking at the Future of Transdisciplinary Research

This paper looks at how science has become transdisciplinary, what is meant by transdisciplinarity and what we need to take into consideration for the future of transdisciplinary research.

The Centre is currently inviting comments to this working paper as part of an Open Online Forum Discussion. Kindly send your input by 30 June, it will be carefully considered and acknowledged.

The launch of the Centre constitutes a pivotal milestone in the ISC’s continuous endeavours to support the advancement of science, and position itself effectively in the transformation of robust science systems that respond to the challenges of the future.

The Future of Research Evaluation: A Synthesis of Current Debates and Developments

The Future of Research Evaluation gives a review of the current state of research evaluation systems and discusses the most recent actions, response and initiatives taken by different stakeholders through several case examples from around the world.  The goal of this discussion paper is to contribute to the ongoing debates and open questions on the future of research evaluation.

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