The impact of scientific findings on society, the ethical dimension of research and the foresight for future scientific developments that could fundamentally change our lives have a direct impact on the function and status of science in society. One of the main concerns of the National Academy of Sciences is to support the joint development of science and society by offering science-based advice in form of statements and recommendations.
Events such as the meltdown at Fukushima power plant, but also developments in modern medicine, often lead to public debate about the potentials and risks of science and technology. On the one hand, we depend on their progress to ensure our high living standard. On the other hand, many people fear that the very basis of life in our society will be endangered by scientific and technological developments. In this climate of uncertainty, early examination of the complex consequences of progress in knowledge is an essential task of the Leopoldina.
The Leopoldina's activities on science and society must combine the rapid reaction to current social debates based on a scientific foundation. With regard to energy, this has been achieved by updating a Leopoldina statement on energy research in Germany. Focused research groups are able to intervene promptly in the public debate on new topics - as was the case, for example, with the statement on preimplantation diagnostics. And last but not least, the Leopoldina reflects as transparently as possible on its own role as the interface between science and politics.
The German National Academy of Sciences strives to reach the widest possible audience when providing information about its findings on science and society. This is done through articles in national newspapers to contribute to current debates on energy supply for the future, the publication of statements for the general public about ethically controversial topics like animal testing, and by organizing events that actively involve the public in the discussion.
Head of Department Science – Policy – Society, Head of Berlin Office
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