The politics of evidence in global emergencies – lessons from Covid-19

This event, hosted by UK think tank the Institute of Development Studies will explore the role of experts & the politics of Covid knowledge in global contexts.

Our international panel of scientists and policy advisors will explore the role of experts and the politics of Covid knowledge in different global contexts.  We ask how researchers, public health officials and policy actors can work better together during periods of acute uncertainty.

Covid-19 has transformed the politics of public health and researchers have played a central role in shaping pandemic policy discourse around the world. In this context, these ‘experts’ have found themselves undergoing almost as much scrutiny as elected officials and many have assumed a highly public facing roles, helping to validate and contest policy responses. Extreme policy uncertainty and competing evidence citing narratives have highlighted the challenge of ‘following the science’. This crisis demands that we focus on the political, social and cultural dimensions of how expert advice is generated, used and abused.


Sarah Richardson, Group Editor, Research Professional News (Chair)

Professor Melissa Leach, Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Dr Lawrence Babawo, Njala University, Sierra Leone Scientific Technical and Advisory Group for Emergencies (STAGE) on Covid-19

Professor Annett Boaz, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and UK Government Office for Science

Dr Julian Tang, Consultant Virologist and Honorary Associate Professor, Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester.


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