The wide-ranging expertise of its members allows the Leopoldina to voice its opinions on significant developments and the most pressing challenges of our time. In the 21st century, these primarily concern climate change, energy supply, disease control and health, demographic change, global economic systems, conflict research and the use of natural resources.
The Academy’s statements and recommendations provide policymakers with scientific analysis and evaluation on the most urgent issues facing society today. A further key aspect of the Academy’s work is early identification of major scientific developments that are likely to become important to society in the future, and providing analysis and recommendations accordingly. In this way, the Leopoldina helps to set policy-making on the right course.
The Leopoldina’s voice is respected. For example, its statement on the energy and research policy implications of the nuclear disaster in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima in spring 2011 impacted on the work and the recommendations of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Ethics Commission on a Safe Energy Supply. Another statement published in 2011 focusing on preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) met with great interest among the members of the German Bundestag and was widely discussed in the media and in the society.
The Leopoldina is free to choose its research themes and does so based on the scope of its scientific work, which is defined by its members, the Presidium and its standing committees. It can also decide to respond to policymakers’ requests, and is equally independent in appointing researchers to the working groups that produce the respective statements and recommendations. The working groups are interdisciplinary and the Leopoldina calls on further independent experts for the peer review process.