First ever Alliance Science and Policy Summer School

17 Alliance Program students from all walks of life and academic backgrounds gathered at Sciences Po from 28 June to 3 July, to participate in the 1st edition of the Alliance Science and Policy Summer School.

Divided between presentations, discussions and working groups, this Science and Policy Summer School aimed at exploring ways to bridge the gap between science and policy and at exchanging ideas from different perspectives.

« I feel that I need to learn new perspectives through the discussions we have here between people from different backgrounds », says Pablo Egaua del Sol, 28, a Chilean student from the Alliance Program based at Columbia University, who is delighted to « escape from economics, [his] main discipline, to find new insight and new models of analysis ».

Initiated by the students themselves, the Summer School reflects the experimental role played by the Alliance Program, a unique partnership of excellence composed of four world-leading academic institutions : Columbia University, the Ecole Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

"Our role is to create an innovative academic dynamic that could benefit all of our partners", explains Alessia Lefebure, in charge of the Alliance Program. "The format of a summer school is perfectly suited to our goal in that it enables a stronger educational experimentation than a traditional class", she adds.

Students brainstormed together on various topics and came out with scientific and political issues and discussed how they intertwine.

"The ratio between sciences and policy is a core question when it comes to human and environmental issues", asserts Gaëlle Bigler-Capmas, 34, a graduate student in social sciences, who is currently enrolled in a PhD under the joint supervision of the Centre for Political Research at Sciences Po (Cevipof) and the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland. Passionate about environmental issues and how they connect and interact with human issues, she is writing her thesis on "governance facing the challenges of new ecological issues. Case study: the Grenelle Agreements in France".

Her classmate, Erika Whillas, a 32 year-old Australian graduate student from the School of Public and International relations of Columbia University (SPIA), is also expecting a lot from the relationship between academics and politics.
"We desperately need a new system for international politics which could help academics to play a more active role in our society", she maintains.

For its first edition, the Alliance Science and Policy Summer School invited prestigious speakers, among them Laurence Tubiana, founder and director of the Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales (Institute of sustainable development and international relations) also known as IDDRI, Bruno Latour, Vice-President for Research at Sciences Po and Jeffrey Sachs, a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor and Director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University since 2002.

Created in 2002, the Alliance Program is a unique network of faculty in all disciplines which offers discussion and global dialogue at the highest level. Every year, more than 240 students and 80 professors benefit from the Alliance network, and 40 conferences are organised in Paris and New York on the pressing issues of our time.