Global challenges have no national boundaries and pose threats to societies all around the world. These challenges cannot be addressed by any one government or institution acting alone. They require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, NGOs, and creative individuals.
Collaborative science can play a central role in addressing global challenges. Indeed, collaborative science has played a crucial role in meeting major societal challenges before: it was scientific research which led to the understanding of the relation between human-caused emissions of chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs]) and depletion of the ozone layer and which brought to light the consequences of this degradation for human well-being. Technological innovations provided industry with alternative, environmentally less harmful substances for propelling aerosols and for refrigeration. As a result, banning of CFCs was politically relatively easy to implement because few players were opposed.
Global challenges are interlinked across regions and disciplines. Environmental challenges can give rise to health challenges, which can in turn give rise to challenges in the bioeconomy. However, it is possible to categorise many of the most pressing challenges which collaborative science is best placed to meet – such as health, food, energy and climate change. Moreover, we can point to cross-cutting areas of research, which can serve to enable an effective response to these challenges; such as Space, as well as horizontal challenges, which must be met to unleash the full potential of scientific research; such as Big Data, Intellectual Property Management, Science Capacity Building and Science Policy Evaluation.
ISC organised a meeting at the European Parliament on 21 January titled: "EU Development Aid: Experiences and Recommendations from Stakeholders Driving Science and Innovation", hosted by MEP Catherine Bearder.