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Annual Meeting of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) Science Academies as Partners for Improving the Impacts of Policies in Africa, 4-5 November, 2008 Science Academies: Process and Values of Academy Work VIRTUES OF ACADEMY ADVICE. David A. Mbah Executive Secretary

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David a mbah executive secretary cameroon academy of sciences

Annual Meeting of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI)Science Academies as Partners for Improving the Impacts of Policies in Africa, 4-5 November, 2008Science Academies: Process and Values of Academy WorkVIRTUES OF ACADEMY ADVICE

David A. Mbah

ExecutiveSecretary

Cameroon Academy of Sciences


1 the virtues of science academy advice are founded on the
1) The Virtues of Science Academy Advice are founded on the: Initiative (ASADI)

  • Core values governing activities of the Academy which usually include :

    - independence,

    - relevance,

    - integrity,

    - objectivity, and

    - quality.


(ii) Design Initiative (ASADI) of the study within the niche of the Academy.

(iii) Quality and diversity of experts involved in the study. Typically experts on the study committee represent:

- multidisciplinarity,

- national and international mix,

- gender sensitivity,

- expertise (qualification, experience),

- absence of conflict of interest.


(iv) Process of delivery: Initiative (ASADI)

- study/report committee,

- study/report review (team of reviewers that includes national and international experts, speakers and non speakers of study, gender, overviewer), and

- consensus study/report.

(v) Level of public confidence and acceptance that the advisory study can command.


2) From this foundation, academy advice differs from that of advisory bodies such as universities, research institutes, interministerial committees, teams of consultants, etc, by:

  • Being strictly evidence-based,

  • Respecting the core values of the academy, while advice from other bodies may have no set of core values to refer to,

  • Being broad-based while that from other bodies is usually within the narrow mandates of such bodies (ministries, institutes, etc), and

  • Being independent. Views of the Academy are more likely to be acceptable to to politicicians and supporters of all persuations including the oppostion who tend to be suspicious of other views as being government sponsored and ipso facto biased


  • Advice from of advisory bodies such as universities, research institutes, interministerial committees, teams of consultants, etc, by:interministerialcommittees, etc, may not be the best, given that:

    - the composition of committees is not determined by merit and expertise but by position/political affiliation which at times, may be of very low level,

    - participants, at times, tend to defend positions of ministries they represent rather than the facts as revealed b evidence,

    - report not always a result of rigorous process:

    * multidisciplinarity,

    * committee composition based on a set of criteria,

    * review and overview of report, and

    * absence of independence.


  • Given this situation, other departments of government (and the public in general) may reject in various ways the report/advice. This can happen often in a multiparty situation as is becoming typical in Africa.

  • Hence, it is important for governments (decision makers) to seek academy advice in order to have public acceptance of decisions on difficult or controversial issues.

  • ifficult/controversial issues


Minister for Higher Education, Special Adviser to the PM/HG, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, President of the Academy at CAS-TWAS Prize Award Ceremony and Induction of new fellows. MINESUP promised to sign a protocol of collaboration with CAS. A draft protocol has been sent for study


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