Debat 'Science & Policy: Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and their impact on policy during the Covid-19-crisis' (Zoom Webinar)

22-10-2020 van 14:00 tot 16:00
Zoom Webinar
Door wie
IDC UGent - Pirenne Consortium, CCCP, PSYNC, Global Studies
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IDC Impact Series annual Autumn event (DIGITAL)


In times of crisis, the relationship between science and policymaking attracts a lot of public attention. The current COVID-19 crisis shows the need for evidence-based policymaking, perhaps more than any other crisis before. While some scientific disciplines quickly rose to prominence in advising and even steering policy, others remained less in the spotlights despite signals from within the disciplines themselves or from society at large. Related to the current COVID-19 response in Belgium for example, one could refer to the absence of mental health specialists in the GEES (Group of Experts for the Exit Strategy), in stark contrast to a strong representation of the life sciences.

In fact, with the exception of (macro-)economics (and European commercial law), the Social Sciences and Humanities are nowhere to be found, even though concern is growing about the full human impact of the epidemic and government responses to it, stretching far beyond strictly medical or economic issues. Rather, all levels of both the individual and social fabric are affected and pre-existing societal challenges were reinforced by the COVID-19 epidemic and the containment measures: increasing unemployment and poverty, the breakdown of social safety nets, heightened gender and racial inequalities, problems of loneliness, anxiety, stress, domestic violence and suicide, (substance) addiction, an ageing population, urban living conditions and limited (natural) public space, intergenerational dynamics, dwindling trust in government and law enforcement, unequal access to (mental) health support, education, housing, security and privacy, culture, information; disruption of global production chains and deepened North-South divides, etc. These are just a few examples.

Clearly, the input of SSH specialists is of tremendous value, for a holistic approach to the problems we face, and for the solution(s) that policy is supposed to provide to be as comprehensive and efficient as possible. The idea that a crisis often holds unique opportunities as well should inspire us to co-create solutions for the future across disciplines such as restoring work-life balance, strengthened quality of life for all citizens, secure and inclusive societies that enable democratic participation, and sustainable consumerism in the digital age.

Time for debate!

The current interactive panel debate will take the COVID-19 crisis as a starting point for a much-needed discussion on the role of science in society and specifically on the relevance and impact of social sciences and humanities (SSH) on policymaking. SSH researchers from different disciplines and societal experts will take stock of today's situation and reflect on the future of the Social Sciences and Humanities' role. Speakers will be Maarten Vansteenkiste (UGent, Psychology), Gert Vermeulen (UGent, Law), Naima Charkaoui (11.11.11) and Olga Van Oost (FARO).

The debate will be moderated by Annelies Beck, news-anchor and VRT journalist.

Find out more about the speakers and moderator 


The panel debate will take place on 22 October 2020, 14.00 - 16.00. We planned for a live event but due to new federal Corona guidelines and 'code red' protocol at Ghent University, we've switched to a Zoom Webinar. For cyber security reasons attendees still need to register here. You will be sent a link to the webinar in due time. There will be room for live Q&A.

In a second stage, the edited recordings will be made available to all. 

This event is organised by the UGent interdisciplinary consortia IDC Crime, Criminology & Criminal Policy; PSYNC – Together for mental health; Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies; Ghent Center for Global Studies in cooperation with the Research Department (DOZA) and the UGent Doctoral Schools.