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The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT)
A network for the sciences: the Swiss Academy of Sciences has been committed to the establishment and development of the sciences since 1815. Today, it can rely on the support of a network of over 35,000 scientists. SCNAT makes use of expert knowledge and promotes the dialogue between science and society. To this end it defines clear local, thematic, disciplinary and interdisciplinary focuses.
In order to be able to make more targeted use of available knowledge and expertise in the future, SCNAT initiated a comprehensive reform process in 2005. The result: bundled knowledge and expertise in the form of new bodies – the SCNAT platforms which simultaneously consolidate and extend Switzerland’s expert knowledge in the area of the sciences. The platforms constitute clearly accessible contact points in the following areas:
Knowledge network guaranteeing excellent results
The leading lights of the sciences are members of the SCNAT platforms. Thus, the platforms constitute important starting points for the transfer of knowledge and are in an ideal position to achieve outstanding collective results. With this clear focus, SCNAT will consistently pursue its future objectives and tasks, and guarantee the future of scientific research and culture in Switzerland.
The earlier, the better
As part of the new alliance of the Swiss academies, SCNAT has assumed responsibility for the fundamental task of «Foresight.» This involves identifying topics that will become crucial for science and society in the future. SCNAT supports scientific monitoring systems, for example for the Swiss glaciers, and platforms on socially relevant topics («Platform Science and Policy»). At the same time, the Academy also monitors the development of new technologies in the field of science, for example synthetic biology. The focus here is on the analysis of possible opportunities and risks. To this end, SCNAT fosters the exchange within and between the sciences and, as a result, can provide a broad basis in the area of foresight.
Taking ethical responsibility
Together with foresight, ethics is one of SCNAT’s main areas of activity: the promotion of scientific integrity and the ethically considered treatment of scientific knowledge and its application are important preconditions for quality assurance of scientific work. A considered ethical approach also serves in the development of a relationship of trust between science and society. Thus, the Academies develop binding ethical guidelines jointly with researchers.
Science for all
SCNAT ensures the active exchange of opinion between science and society through information and promotional events on new areas of research, the support of regional projects and the awarding of prizes for the outstanding communication of scientific content. It is SCNAT’s aim to promote awareness of the sciences through partnership-based dialogue.