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SAPEA call for nominations for Scientific Advice Mechanism activity on better preparedness for future epidemics

31 July 2020

The main question of focus is: ‘’How can Europe ensure adequate management of and better preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics in the global context?’’

Call for Nominations

The European Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) provides independent and transparent scientific advice to the European Commission, working with the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (the Advisors) and the European Academies (SAPEA).  SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) comprises the five European Academy Networks: Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE and FEAM – representing over 100 Academies in over 40 European countries, and spanning the disciplines of engineering, humanities, science and social sciences. The SAPEA project runs over four years and is funded through a grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors are working to form the advice with key experts, including Professor Peter Piot (Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and special advisor to the President of the European Commission) in collaboration with the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE). An Opinion is planned to be published by the Chief Scientific Advisors in October 2020. The main question of focus is: ‘’How can Europe ensure adequate management of and better preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics in the global context?’’

The advice will draw upon lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and previous pandemics. It is important to mention that a broad perspective should be adopted when answering this question, also addressing social dimensions, inequality, culture, trust, political environments, etc. Thus, it must include insights from disciplines beyond just the biomedical sciences.

Due to the limited time available, no Working Group will be formed, but those selected may be consulted by the Chief Scientific Advisors and other authors of the advice on an individual basis. An impartial and independent approach with insight of experts with an interdisciplinary background is required. Nominees must also be able to demonstrate experience and knowledge related to policy advice and/or evidence synthesis and must have a wide understanding of the issue from multidisciplinary perspectives.

Within these central requirements, an indication of areas of expertise that may be of relevance is provided below. A diverse group of experts will be selected in accordance with their expertise and attention will be given to gender balance, geographical coverage and career level. All experts selected will be asked to complete a Declaration of Interests form.

Areas of Expertise

• Pandemics Management (including expertise on the responses in Asia following SARS/ MERS)
• Public health
• Epidemiology
• Virology
• Sociology
• Political science
• International law
• Ethics
• Humanities
• Economy
• Risk scenarios/ analysis
• Behavioural sciences
• Mental health
• Health systems
• Engineering
• Communications
• Crisis management
• Social inequality/ gender
• Modelling
• Medical history

To express an interest in being nominated by the Royal Irish Academy please submit a curriculum vitae, together with a short explanation of how your experience meets the areas of expertise needed to policy@ria.ie by midday on Thursday 13th August 2020.

This opportunity is publicly advertised by the Royal Irish Academy.

All expressions of interest received will be considered by the Academy’s Policy Oversight Group - the unit tasked with advising upon the initiation and implementation of all of the Academy’s policy and international activities and responsible for overseeing a standardised quality process for all outputs. Chaired by the Academy’s Secretary of Policy and International Relations, the six members of this group are all elected Members of the Royal Irish Academy and come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds in several institutions across the island of Ireland- both north and south of the border. On occasions, the Policy Oversight Group may also consult additional experts to inform their assessments and evaluations.

The Royal Irish Academy values diversity and strives for a culture of equality and inclusion in all of its activities. As outlined in its Strategic Plan 2019-2023, the Academy is committed to ensuring greater gender, disciplinary, institutional and overall diversity in every area of the Academy and its work throughout the island of Ireland. It particularly welcomes nominations from under-represented groups and communities.

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