Guidelines for Advising Policymakers and the Public
One of the key goals of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering is to advise policymakers and the public on strategic engineering and technology policy issues. acatech’s studies and recommendations aim to support evidence-based decision-making among policymakers at regional, national and European level.
The Academy’s work is also geared towards informing the public and helping it make its mind up about complex problems and questions.
This has led to the following guidelines being formulated for the Academy, its policy advice bodies, the participating experts and the entities that commission work from acatech:
acatech shall ensure that the advice it provides reflects the latest scientific knowledge.
The Academy shall ensure that its project groups include experts of the highest level in the scientific fields relevant to the subject in question, and that their work is also informed by experts from industry.
All project participants are urged to disclose any interests or affiliations that could raise doubts about their impartiality.
A peer review and authorization process shall ensure that the results of acatech’s projects reflect the best scientific knowledge currently available and take all the relevant aspects into account, and that their proposals and recommendations have been transparently derived from the project’s findings.
All authorised project results shall be published. Transparent details shall be provided of how the project was carried out, including the names of the funders and participants and their institutional affiliations. The Academy shall be solely responsible for determining the publication date and size.
The Academy shall engage in public relations activities providing continuous information about its advice to policymakers and the public and its communication with policymakers.
In the case of consultancy projects commissioned by other organisations, the Academy expects the organisation that commissioned the project to present its results to the public in a balanced manner and to provide an explanation of any conclusions of its own that differ from the advice provided by the Academy.
As well as carrying out projects on its own initiative, acatech also engages in consultancy work for government. Its advice to policymakers and the public is science-based, independent, non-party-political and in the public interest.
The Academy’s scientific analysis of technology policy questions, formulation of recommendations and communication with policymakers are all based on established codes of conduct. These include the policy advice guidelines of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Leitlinien Politikberatung. Berlin 2008) and the proposals of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for safeguarding good scientific practice (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: Vorschläge zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis, Empfehlungen der Kommission „Selbstkontrolle in der Wissenschaft“. Bonn 1998).
Furthermore, in its communication with policymakers – which plays a key role in supporting the Academy’s policy advice – acatech follows the Guideline for Cultivation of Contacts in the Political Arena of the German Public Relations Council (DRPR) (Deutscher Rat für Public Relations: DRPR-Richtlinie zur Kontaktpflege im politischen Raum. Bonn 2004) and the code of conduct of the German Association of Political Consultants (de’ge’pol) (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Politikberatung: Verhaltenskodex. Berlin 2003).
In its advice to policymakers and the public and its communication with policymakers, acatech observes the principles of truthfulness, independence and transparency. This has led to the above guidelines being formulated for the Academy, its policy advice bodies, the participating experts and the entities that commission work from acatech.