Science in Times of Crisis

Discover the new podcast series from the International Science Council’s Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS), which explores what living in a world of crisis and geopolitical instability means for science and scientists.

Over five episodes, airing every Thursday in December, this 5-part-series will provide detailed accounts of the complicated relationship between geopolitics and science, asking what we can learn from the past, the challenges of the present, and what diplomatic solutions can we begin implementing in the future to ensure a more resilient science sector.


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Episode 1 – What can we learn from history?

Delving into contemporary history, we explore two examples of science in times of crisis, the Cold War decades between 1950 and 1990, and the Apartheid era in South Africa.

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Episode 2 – The Current Clash: Science and the National Interest.

We discuss two major issues – firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic and AIDS crisis and secondly, Brazil’s tumultuous science-policy nexus on issues such as climate change and the Amazon rainforest.

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Episode 3 –  The Fallout of Conflict: The Arctic and Outer Space

We unpack the worrying impact that conflict has on the capacity of organized science and scientists to respond to global challenges. In this episode we discuss two critical spaces being disrupted due to conflict and crisis, the Arctic and outer space. 

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Episode 4 – Rebuilding Mosul’s ‘Lighthouse of Knowledge’

In this episode, we are focusing on the implications of the crisis in Iraq on science, scientific infrastructure, scientific collaboration and individual scientists.

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Episode 5- Preventing Crisis: Science Diplomacy and Track Two Organizations

For our final fifth episode we invited ISC President Peter Gluckman and former Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova to discuss the realities of science diplomacy.

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Production of the podcast series was overseen by a small group of experts, who provided editorial and content guidance to the project team. They are:

Magdalena Stoeva

Magdalena Stoeva, PhD, FIOMP, FIUPESM is the present Secretary General of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM) and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Health and Technology, jointly published by Springer Nature and the IUPESM in cooperation with the WHO.

Dr. Stoeva has expertise in medical physics, engineering, computer systems at academic and clinical level. With over 20 years international academic and organizational experience, she is an active participant in 8 International projects.

Among Dr. Stoeva’s professional activities are: a delegate in the WHO 3rd Global Forum on Medical Devices 2016; a delegate in the 32nd ICSU General Assembly 2017; a delegate in the European Parliament Interest Group on Biomedical Engineering meeting 2018; a delegate at the World Science Forum 2019; a delegate of the World Laureates Forum 2020.

Her most recent interests are directed towards the professional development of the physical and engineering sciences in medicine, incl. but not limited to educational strategies, gender and workplace balance, promoting and supporting science for young professionals and the LMICs, e-learning, overcoming the global pandemic issues, science diplomacy and leadership.

Magdalena is also a member of the ISC’s Committee for Outreach and Engagement.

Karly Kehoe

Dr. S. Karly Kehoe is Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities and Professor of History at Saint Mary’s University in Canada. She is also the president of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

She holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom. Karly’s main areas of research are religious minority migration in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the legacies of settler colonialism on national and regional identities.

She has been a long-time advocate of at-risk and displaced academic colleagues and co-founded the Young Academy of Scotland’s At-Risk and Refugee Membership programme and the Global Young Academy’s At-Risk Scholar Initiative

Karly founded the At-Risk and Displaced Academics and Artists program of the Royal Society of Canada College. She is also a member of the Science in Exile steering committee. 

Karly is also a member of the ISC’s Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science.

Vivi Stavrou

As Executive Secretary of the Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS), Vivi leads on managing the CFRS portfolio of activities.

Vivi is a Clinical Psychologist and development worker with extensive international experience in humanitarian emergencies and post-conflict situations as a social development consultant, evaluator and researcher.

She has worked with UN and development agencies, government ministries and services, and academic institutions in the areas of child protection, mental health and psychosocial support and health systems development, Health and Human Rights, and security sector reform.

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