International Council for
Philosophy and Human Sciences

ISSC discusses the future of international science at the World Science Forum

The ISSC, represented by Francoise Caillods, senior managing editor of the 2010 World Social Science Report, took part in a parallel thematic session on the future of international science at the World Science Forum in Budapest. Francoise’s contribution, which focused on the state of the social sciences and their role in responding to global priority challenges, followed from presentations by John Marks, chair of the ICSU Taskforce on Foresight, and Nebojsa Nakicenovic, director of the Global Energy Assessment.

During her presentation, Francoise observed that to address global challenges such as climate and environmental change, the social sciences are crucial. They help us to understand how humans behave and interact, with each other and with the environment. More specifically, they help us to understand the role of culture, values and beliefs in shaping the way groups adapt to changes and the strategies they develop; and the role of interests and power in developing an institutional and political response.

To reach the social sciences’ full potential and utility, Francoise nevertheless stressed that it is necessary to overcome the knowledge divides – the tremendous inequalities in research capacities and knowledge fragmentation – which currently characterise them. She also presented some of the current trends in social science research that are likely to develop in the future: addressing global issues as much as local ones; getting more involved in interdisciplinary research; and responding to the growing pressure to be relevant and to inform decision making. All of these require new methodologies and new approaches.

For more information on the World Science Forum, visit
For more information on social science knowledge divides, see the World Social Science Report 2010, available here.

November 2011

  Article Source : ISSC
November 21, 2011