Science Academies call for G7 action on brain science, disaster resilience and future scientists

18 April 2016

Global science academies, including the Royal Society in the UK, have joined forces to highlight three global challenges that science ministers from the G7 countries need to address in the run up to the G7 Heads of State summit in Japan (26 – 27 May 2016). Three statements released today call for action on: Understanding, protecting, and developing global brain resources; ensuring sustainable development by strengthening disaster resilience and nurturing scientists for the future.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, says, “The Royal Society has played a key role in shaping these statements, because it believes that science has an essential role to play in the development of society. The three areas covered in the statements can have a major impact on human wellbeing globally. Studies on resilience will ensure that we are better prepared for natural disasters, potentially saving or preventing the disruption of large numbers of lives. To make the best and most inclusive use of human intelligence, which is needed for our advancement, we need to understand how best to develop and nurture the human brain. To make the best use of our human potential, we must ensure that we recognise and nurture talent wherever it arises, regardless of background or gender. The support and leadership of the G7 governments in these areas is therefore vital.”

The Science Council of Japan, the science academy of this year’s summit host nation, coordinated the scientific advisory process, inviting the science academies of 13 countries and the regional science academy of Africa to work together to develop the statements. They will present the statements to the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. Seven of these academies are from the countries that attend the G7 Summit. All of the participating academies consider these recommendations are important for their own countries, and for continuing regional and global development.

The three statements are as follows:

Understanding, Protecting, and Developing Global Brain Resources

The human brain is civilisation’s most precious resource. Investment in brain science is, therefore, an investment in the future of society, and nations must cooperate to understand, protect, and foster optimal development of the brain.

To cultivate global brain resources, the G-Science Academies propose four Objectives, to be pursued in parallel, where strategic support for neuroscience will benefit society: (1) Support fundamental research with international collaboration; (2) Establish global programs for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of brain disorders; (3) Promote theoretical modelling of the brain and the development of brain-based artificial intelligence; and (4) Integrate neuroscience with the social and behavioural sciences to improve education and life management as essential components of a brain-aware society.

Read the statement (PDF)

Strengthening Disaster Resilience is Essential to Sustainable Development

Losses due to disasters are increasing in both developed and developing countries. Human factors together with increased extreme events aggravate the negative consequences of hazards. In the globalised 21st century, a disaster in one country creates disruptions in others. In 2015, the international community agreed on three major accords: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

To expedite the Sendai Framework, G-Science Academies exhort six policy actions for disaster resilience and sustainable development: (1) Develop metrics and indicators for evaluating exposure, vulnerability and resilience; (2) Advance science and technical knowledge and improve assessment of disaster risk including building relevant data infrastructure; (3) Develop innovative engineering for disaster prevention and raise political and public awareness; (4) Strengthen inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborative efforts to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world; (5) Engage the investor community; and (6) Initiate a forum for information sharing with the private sector and relevant stakeholders to provide practical solutions.

Read the statement (PDF)

Nurturing Future Scientists

Society heavily relies upon science-based discovery, technology and policies. In light of this, nurturing future scientists is important for the development of society. Connecting scientists and society, and creating a diverse global workforce need to be promoted.

The G-Science Academies recommend the followings: (1) Further promotion of science education for necessary capacities; (2) Supporting young scientists for development of career in broader sectors; (3) Implementation of scientists’ assessment based on quality and diverse activities; (4) Prioritising science communication to the public and children; (5) Training scientists for science advice to policies; (6) Improving working conditions of women and minority groups for career development; (7) Developing science capacity and mutual mobility by collaboration of developed and developing countries; and (8) Ensuring access to academic literatures and information, and opportunities of publication of research results.

Read the statement (PDF)