The November rain fell heavily when leading practitioners and scholars met at a one-day event to provide input as Finland develops its science advice capabilities for the future. However, inside the National museum the atmosphere was warm and enthusiastic in the workshop about innovative approaches for science advice that we had the pleasure to participate in.

Helsingfors Anna Wetterbom

CEO Anna Wetterbom (to the right) shares Young Academy of Sweden's experience from a pairing scheme with MPs and researchers and the concept Coffee with researchers. Photo: kind meeting participant

Anna Wetterbom shared the experience we have of working with Rifo (the Society for MPs and Researchers) on building bridges between politicians and researchers. Together we arrange two types of activities: One being the pairing scheme where members of parliament and the academy shadow each other to learn more about each other’s work. The other one being ‘Coffee with a researcher’ (Fika med forskare) where politicians are served coffee, muffins and short popular science talks.

The concept of pairing schemes has been tried also in other countries and at the same workshop we learned about the experience from the Young Academy of Scotland who has just finished the first round of pairs. Furthermore, we learned that there are serious discussions in Finland on starting a pairing scheme. We hope they do! We have found that the pairing scheme is a very good way of establishing a personal relationship which gives the opportunity of mutual learning for participating researchers and politicians.

SAPEA brings together expertise in engineering, humanities, medicine, natural and social sciences from over 100 academies, young academies and learned societies across Europe. It is part of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism. Young Academy of Finland, Nuorten Tiedeakatemia, co-organized the meeting.

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