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Social Sciences and Political Institutions: Challenging the boundaries of (non)cooperation

Is science separate from politics or is it an integral part of the political process? Does participating in the process lead to a bias of science and scientific procedures? Through which channels can scientists influence the decision-making process?  

These are some of the questions discussed at the conference “Social Sciences and Political Institutions: Challenging the boundaries of (non)cooperation”, organised jointly on October 20-21, 2017 by PERFORM, University of Fribourg, Faculty of Political Sciences, and the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory of the University of Belgrade.

Opening the conference Minister without portfolio in charge of Demography and Population Policy Slavica Djukic Dejanovic stressed the importance of applicability of social science research for policy making and said that her cabinet has been relying on research evidence since she took office:
“When I took office in 2016, my first step was to admit that we did not know enough about the issue of demography, and that we needed to be educated in order to implement real change. To that end, we have established a very successful cooperation with the Centre for Demography of the Institute of Social Sciences on revising the strategies related to population policies.”
 

The goal of the conference was to consider different concepts that explain the complex relationship between the science and politics, as well as different approaches of scientists and politicians and their understanding of roles that both sides have in the decision-making process.

PERFORM has been supporting several modalities of cooperation between policy and research, from providing scientific evidence to the policy cycle, advocating for change of the regulatory framework based on evidence from research, to effective communication of research results to the public. 
“The project wants to support and facilitate the embedding of the flow of scientific evidence into the policy cycle as a good practice. PERFORM considers it a priority to facilitate more spaces where social sciences and the political domain meet, exchange, interact and debate”, said PERFORM Manager, Dr Martin Dietz.
 

PERFORM will provide future support to the partners in developing publications and articles as well as future discussions on importance of scientific contribution to the political decision making.