People - 22.11.2022 - 13:21 

HSG professor Caspar Hirschi joins Swiss Scientific Advisory Panel COVID-19

In order to support the cantons and the federal government with scientific expertise even after the dissolution of the Swiss National Covid-19 Science Task Force, a new scientific advisory panel for the Covid-19 pandemic will be established. Caspar Hirschi, Professor of History at the University of St.Gallen, is a new member.

The Conference of Ministers of Public Health, the Federal Department of Internal Affairs and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation have concluded an agreement to this effect with the ETH Board. The advisory panel is chaired by Tanja Stadler, professor at ETH Zurich, and comprises 14 members from different institutions and subject areas. The mandate runs provisionally until the end of June 2023. Among other things, Caspar Hirschi has expertise in the communication of specialist knowledge and in the interaction between politics and science.

Incorporating scientific knowledge for crisis management

The Covid-19 crisis demonstrated the importance of incorporating scientific evidence in crisis management. Until its dissolution at the end of March 2022, the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force advised policy makers and informed the public about the state and standing of science. Cooperation and exchange with the scientific community is important for the cantons in normal situations, and it also remains valuable for the Confederation in the current transitional phase, which is why a scientific advisory panel should be available to assist the authorities.

Strengthening exchanges between science and policy makers and public authorities

The advisory panel is available to the Conference of Ministers of Public Health as well as to the individual cantons and interested federal agencies for assessments and analyses. However, it can also carry out analyses independently and make the results available to the public. The advisory panel provides the authorities with a scientific basis and current scientific findings, and highlights various options for action. This will further strengthen the exchange between science and policy makers as well as public authorities in Switzerland.

Voluntary advisory mandate

No funding of the advisory panel by the Confederation and the cantons is envisaged – the members are providing their expertise on a voluntary basis. If assignments go beyond the general consultancy mandate and require research projects, their framework will be agreed between the clients and contractors. The ETH Board provides administrative support to the advisory panel.
This agreement was concluded with the involvement of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Association of Academies A+, swissuniversities and the Swiss Science Council.

Source: Media release of the Federal Office of Public Health (in German)


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