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Committee Mandate

February 2021

An update from the RSC International Secretary: 
Paul Young

Recent Activities

G7 2020 - Future of Digital Health G7 Research Summit (November 2020)
As a major component of the ongoing efforts of the G7 Science Academies, and with the support of a consortium of domestic and international partners, the RSC organized a Research Summit on “The Future of Digital Health”.  This was very successful and held via zoom as part of the COEE. The full programme and speakers can be found here.
 

G7 Academies 2021 Process
In 2021 the UK will host the Presidency of the G7, and the Royal Society of London (RS) is coordinating the academies activities for the G7 process (Science 7). As with previous years, draft statements will be prepared for submission to the G7 political leaders. The overall theme for 2021 will be “Science for a resilient and environmentally sustainable recovery from pandemic” with sub themes of Net Zero, Biodiversity Loss, and Health Data. This year the RS is inviting early input to the drafts and asked G7 academies to nominate one expert for each of the major themes. This we have done and all the G7 academy experts are working with RS colleagues to create the various drafts which will be circulated for peer review and subsequent approval and submission to the G7 political process. The nominated RSC representatives are Professor Mark Jaccard (Simon Fraser University for Net Zero), Professor Andrew Gonzalez (McGill University for Biodiversity Loss) and Professor Sharon Strauss (University of Toronto and St Michaels Hospital for Health Data). I have also attended some of the meetings, as an observer, to what is an excellent process. The final draft statements will be circulated in the coming weeks for final comments and endorsement by the G7 Academy Presidents. Further information on the G7 process can be found here

G20 Academies 2021 Process
In 2021 Italy will host the Presidency of the G20 and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is coordinating the academies activities for the G20 process. This will follow similar lines to previous years with a proposed enhancement. The Italian Academy have proposed that in addition to the Science 20 format, as happened in Saudi Arabia this year, they are proposing to combine with a Humanities and Social Sciences Forum.  The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei consulted with G20 academies and the RSC was supportive and enthusiastic about this proposal. The topics for the 2021 process will be “Pandemic Preparedness” for the S20 group and “Crises: Economy, Society, Law and Culture” for the SSH20 group.  Draft statements will be circulated in the coming weeks for review. The meeting of academy representatives will happen in Rome either in-person or via video-link (22-24 September 2021). The recommendations will then be submitted to the G20 political leaders (https://www.g20.org/en/).

International Academy Partnership (IAP) Statement Review and Endorsement
The RSC provided input and review of statements that have been prepared on behalf of member academies, namely “Protection of Marine Environments” and “Regenerative Medicine” (https://www.interacademies.org).

Upcoming Activities

Commonwealth Academies Meeting (February 2021)
A Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC) led by the Royal Society (UK) and the African Academy of Sciences will be a virtual meeting on 22-26 February 2021. The meeting brings together outstanding early career researchers from across the commonwealth. The RSC was invited to nominate 24 outstanding researchers who hold Canada’s most prestigious Post-doctoral awards (e.g., from the Canadian Banting Program and others). 

The overarching theme for the CSC is “Science for a resilient future”, with three main sub- themes:
Developing resilient energy systems – decarbonising energy consumption, mitigating climate change, and moving towards a circular economy
Nurturing resilient ecosystems – maintaining and strengthening biodiversity, sustainable stewardship of the oceans, and adapting to a changing climate
Building resilient societal systems – adapting to a changing climate, moving towards a circular economy, and addressing the health impacts of Covid-19

Confirmed invited speakers include: Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster and natural historian; Professor Donna Strickland, University of Waterloo; Professor Peter Doherty, veterinary surgeon and immunologist; Dr Tolullah Oni, University of Cambridge; Professor Richard Leakey, conservationist and politician; and Professor Julie Makani, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. Further details of the programme can be found here.

Austrian Academy of Sciences Joint Academy Day with the RSC (March 2021)
The RSC has been in discussion with the Austrian Academy of Sciences following an invitation to hold a joint academy day.  The meeting was to be held in Vienna on October 22, 2020 but due to Covid-19 it was jointly agreed to postpone the event until March 18, 2021 when it will be a virtual meeting. The programme and speakers can be found here.

Following the meeting a joint publication will be produced and will be available on both academy websites.

Acknowledgment and Thanks
The International Secretary would like to thank and acknowledge the numerous members of the RSC who have been consulted, provided expert advice, reviewed documents or accepted invitations to participate in events. He also thanks the current International Committee and Alan Steele and Alexandre Poulaine for their contributions to the International Committee during their term.