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September 2020

An update from the RSC International Secretary: 
Paul Young1. G7 2020 Digital Health Symposium
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 is organizing a G7 Research Summit on “The Future of Digital Health”.  The RSC will host the event virtually on November 25 just prior to the COEE in Toronto. The symposium will focus on global perspectives and trends, highlighting steps that policymakers, scholars, scientists, and citizens can take to realize the enormous potential of the Future of Digital Health. The panel topics for discussion will be:
Ethics, Privacy and Public Engagement
Promise and Pitfalls in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
Data Governance, Scope, Reliability and Access
Winning Conditions for Scaling Digital Health Innovation
The four panels will each have four members and a moderator and given the current pandemic the panels will also be asked to consider the role of digital health in this and future pandemics.
2. S20 Academy meetings and the S20 Summit 
The national academies of the G20 are working together as the S20 group to prepare statements that will be forwarded for the G20 meeting of political leaders later in the year. As part of this process the S20 are hosting a series of virtual meetings to prepare for an S20 summit. Four topics have been chosen for this process which are: 
 1)Future of Health; 2) Circular Economy; 3) Digital Revolution; and 4) Connecting the dots.
Four task forces, composed of a member from each academy have worked on these topics with the goal to produce a draft statement which will be discussed, refined and then approved by the academies at the S20 summit. The RSC nominated experts for each of these four taskforces and thanks Professors Cooke, Kehoe, Stacey and Wu for their participation.
The S20 Summit will be held virtually on September 26th when the final recommendations and reports will be presented.  
3. Commonwealth Academies Meeting
A Commonwealth Science Conference led by the Royal Society (UK) and the African Academy of Sciences will be a virtual meeting in February 2021.  We are waiting further details regarding the format of this meeting.
4. The inter Academy Partnership (IAP)
The inter Academy Partnership holds a General Assembly of global national academies every three years. The last meeting was in Seoul, Korea in 2019. It has been proposed by the IAP that the next meeting in 2022 should be hosted in North America and it has also been suggested that Canada could be the venue and that the meeting could be co-hosted with the USA. The NAS are, in principle, happy to co-host if this was to proceed. Currently the RSC is evaluating the feasibility, costs, sponsorship and risks of hosting this meeting just prior to the COEE in 2022 in Calgary. 
5. Austrian Academy of Sciences Joint Academy Day with the RSC
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 22 October 2020 but due to Covid-19 it has been jointly agreed to postpone the event until 2021 when it will be a hybrid virtual meeting. Six expert panels will discuss the following topics, three led by the RSC and three by the Austrian Academy. The topics and chairs are:
Austrian Academy of Sciences 
Ideas Crossing the Atlantic: Multicultural Citizenship, Minority Cultures and Religious Diversity as Challenges in Liberal Democracies - Chaired by Waldemar Zacharasiewicz 
Coping with the COVID-19 crisis - Chaired by Silvia Knapp
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Research: Challenges and Responsibilities for Academies and Academics in the 21st Century - Chaired by Alice Vadrot 
Royal Society of Canada 
Interdisciplinary Responses to Global Challenges - Chaired by Steven Cooke 
Arctic and Alpine Environmental Change - Chaired by John P. Smol 
Healthy Societies - Chaired by Candace Nykiforuk
The expert panels will include two panelists from each academy and members of the two academies will be able to virtually attend the meeting. Following the meeting a joint publication will be produced and will be available on both academy websites.
6. International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (IHRN)
Several requests for letters of support to free academics and scientists who are imprisoned are received by the RSC from this network of which we are a member. These have been reviewed by the Committee on Public Engagement and when supported the RSC has sent letters to appropriate government agencies as suggested by the IHRN. 
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. 

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