“Thinking about science policy … ‘

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Robbert Dijkgraaf (M), Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Hans Clevers (L). Dijkgraaf passes in the baton after as president of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences have worked four years to Hans Clevers.

OPINION Terry Vrijenhoek of SciencePalooza makes a detour into the world he is the scientific adviser to the Prime Minister. Runs me, please?

It was not noticed me first, the short message calling for revolution in science policy. The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) recommends a Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) to appoint, as reported the science section of the newspaper. Core task of GCSA: guide the government in decisions about science. Profile: symbol function, and public figure with an integrative influence on government policy on science and scientific advice.

A scientific adviser to the Prime Minister so, as in “big people countries’ such as England and Canada. Never before craved a reputable institution like the Academy as strong a trait d’union (connection) between politics and science. Now the possibilities for establishing a Dutch GCSA ‘new style’ investigation, as the Academy recommends in its report ‘confidence in science “that appeared last week. A revolutionary experiment, because research is usually not high enough on the policy to earn. Private person


I would like to take a walk in the world I am the GCSA. Runs me, please?

If I exit my room in college, I see right genetics professor sitting. With him I like fir on science, usually in response to the discussions or project updates. It generally begins thus my week. In The Hague, I have an office, but you will find me much. On Tuesdays and Fridays – my more or less fixed Hague days – I usually hang in and around the House, or the Dutch organization for Science Corpse Research (NWO), Agency, the Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy (AWT) or the Rathenau Institute. Brussels, I am sometimes find, depending on developments there. I try to stick to the days in The Hague and at the university, but often kicking both scientific and policy conferences stop my weekly schedule quite confused. And so it should, because both science and policy require monitoring of current affairs. Fortunately I have a secretary of excellence, which will Mark R., Jet B. and Alexander P. – But also Hans C. and Robbert D. – Or in another booth if required. And otherwise I Turret step inside at all times. ‘Alexander,’ (because you do not think is going to happen? Something with science among Rutte), ‘which 7 billion (!) For fundamental research should remain in it. Perhaps the VVD tack when we do something for companies within that 3 billion for knowledge. ”

I dream a little further. The Academy’s opinion speaks of a GSCA ‘which will often mentioned in the media, and in that sense it can contribute to the public perception that the government is serious about science. ” I see Pauw & Witteman, a weekly column, and lectures by invitation – for scientists and policy makers. To professors’ briefly speak ‘me, even after I have briefed about the reactions to our thesis’ scientific results should have no influence on science policy. “Alexander in the coffee breaks Meanwhile remains science ever climb the social ladder. Since my installation as GCSA (by royal decree), proceed significantly more scientists in the public domain. The Dijkgraaf-effect, but without Dijkgraaf into view. VWO students flock to an academic career, alpha, beta and gamma. Yes, even HAVO strive again for a place at university.

Incidentally, I also bring another the right parties together. Health insurers may want anyway invest in early drug development. Scientific archrivals can best use each other’s stuff, as long as they do not have to see or speak, and they’re both better off each other. And where you Annemarie Jorritsma data for its Dutch Health Hub in Almere? Precisely, in the university hospital.


It is a great political science menagerie. Other countries follow the now English-Dutch-Canadian model, and also install GCSA’s. Summit between the European GCSA’s ensures that research money from Brussels or well-spent, and not just changing opportunity consortia. GCSA are also welcome guest at the annual economists ball in Davos, moderating the climate debate and provide public transport student cards at Richard Branson’s space travel company.

And then the GCSA circuit at a critical stage. The pioneer resigns, and there will be a sequel. Meanwhile GCSA position also sought after by die-hard career tigers and rapscallions. Moreover, the GCSA in Belgium let slip that he has more influence than in Brussels Mayor Thielemans of the Belgian capital. Infighting, culture of greed, and unclear deals lurk.

And indeed, my successor (not me, of course) appears very close ties to maintain. With the pharmaceutical industry He also spends more time abroad than strictly speaking would do, he has a permanent private driver, and he is better known in business and politics than scientists. How could we then – six years ago – can guarantee that the GCSA objective and visionary would continue, I would ask aloud. Elections? A selection committee? A GCSA-classroom? In any case, we should select intrinsic fascination with science, demonstrable political antennae, and community involvement. Sharper

And with that I’m back in the real world. Excuse me, I’m going to update my LinkedIn profile. Looking for some political antennae.

Terry Vrijenhoek attached to SciencePalooza.d2

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