Event review – International symposium on "Credibility of scientific expertise and public decision-making"

Increased complexity of health risks in a globalised world, mistrust of the authorities: the contribution of scientific expertise to public decision-making regularly generates high expectations and lively debate. This has once again been demonstrated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

ANSES examined these issues in early 2021 at an international scientific symposium focusing on two key questions: What determines whether or not scientific expertise is credible? What factors contribute to the credibility of the knowledge and information mobilised for public decision-making?

The symposium was organised in digital format over several days, in partnership with the Cité des Sciences et de l'industrie for the two opening sessions, and with the support of the Parliamentary Office for Assessing Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST).

Throughout the various sessions, 45 European and North American social scientists shared their analysis on themes such as trust in expertise, expertise and democracy, crisis communication and management of the COVID-19 epidemic, risk communication in the digital and fake news age, biotechnologies, scientific integrity, and social mobilisation.

The speakers also exchanged views on the different solutions and prospects, with a view to improving how these societal issues are taken into account in scientific expert appraisal processes to assist public decision-making.

More than 1600 people – scientists, representatives from institutions, industry and non-governmental organisations, journalists – attended one or other of the live sessions.