Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures

Developing a comparative ‘global atlas’ of science advisory mechanisms


Ms Kristiann Allen, Dr Tatjana Buklijas


Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures

Project code: ART013

The Centre for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland hosts the global secretariat for the International Network for Government Science Advice, which is the world’s leading community of practice for those working at the interface between science and public policy, regardless of the institutional structure or mechanism. Through its global convening and training activities, INGSA is dedicated to developing institutional and individual capacities to help build a culture of evidence-informed policy-making at all levels of governance. In so doing, INGSA maintains close relationships with collaborators in the European Commission, the International Science Council, the OECD and UN organisations on projects related to its mandate.

This summer assignment offers an opportunity to support the development of a ‘global atlas’ of science advice structures. Building on INGSA’s 2014 global census of science advice structures, this assignment will help to update and refine a classification system. In doing so, the summer scholar has the opportunity to help set a global standard and common vocabulary in how we understand evidence-to-policy practices and mechanisms worldwide.

Scholar’s Work:

PART 1 of the project will be to establish the criteria of science advice mechanisms that we seek to capture in the new Atlas. Draft criteria will be developed based on search of the policy studies literature and a survey/interviews of INGSA’s key collaborators in international organisations and the three INGSA regional chapters (Asia, Latin America and Africa). The list of collaborators and organizations will be prepared by the supervisor. Criteria will then be tested against known science advisory mechanisms in selected jurisdictions to ensure that they are able to 1) capture the appropriate type of national, sub-national and transnational mechanisms and 2) capture appropriate features of each mechanism.

PART 2 of the project will use the agreed criteria to launch a pilot survey in one INGSA region. The pilot will be designed to test the questions and keywords and target audience for a broader global survey to develop the Atlas. It will help us understand where to aim our efforts (e.g. which ministries, agencies or academics are best able to assist in gathering the required data) and how to explain what we are looking for across varying cultures, languages and policy-making traditions. Results of parts 1 and 2 of the project will be written up in an initial report. Together with a webpage for the project, which will be set up on the INGSA website, the report will be circulated as a proposal to potential global partners (UNESCO has already shown interest in funding a wider project). Should additional funding be secured, a graduate student position will be created within the Centre for Informed Futures.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites:

Academic background a social sciences discipline (e.g. Politics, Global Studies, area studies in CLL (Latin American, Asian), Anthropology, Sociology and related); Clear written and verbal communication in English. A second global language may be an asset; Good organisational skills (e.g. organising and maintaining data in accessible formats); Experience working with Qualtrics and Excel; Reliability and willingness to learn; Ability to work independently.

Timing/Weeks for Summer Scholarship:

The Centre for Informed Futures (Fisher Building, 18 Quadrant St on City Campus) will host the summer student, providing a dedicated workspace in a shared office, kitchen facilities and secure bike parking. Summer work schedules will be arranged so that the main supervisor, co-supervisor or appropriate delegate will be present at the Centre the entire summer. The scholar may choose to work on-site or at home, but regular supervisory meetings are expected and will be agreed with the scholar at the beginning of the programme. No supervision will be available between the period beginning with the start of December shut-down to January 10, 2022.

Benefits to Scholar:

The scholar will be introduced to the rigours of developing and testing a robust data collection tool in a transdisciplinary way by working directly with our diverse global partners within the INGSA community. The mentorship will include starting with a literature search to inform the tool, designing a prototype and testing it within the INGSA community. The mentor will assist the scholar in assessment of peer and external feedback and discuss how it can be incorporated to improve the tool. The scholar will have access to the Centre’s associate directors for feedback and to explore post-graduate and career options. Of particular value is INGSA’s international connectedness with global and multi-lateral organisations and with national governments and universities overseas. Students interested in exploring international careers in global affairs, sustainable development policy, etc. may be especially interested.


It is expected that the summer scholar to come ready to unleash onto this project their curiosity and passion for evidence-informed global action on today’s most important policy challenges. They would be expected to want to learn and to become connected to a vibrant community of academics and policy-professionals who are deepening our understanding of the dynamics, challenges and opportunities of evidence-informed policy-making. They would be expected to have a serious interest in undertaking an internationally focused career in policy and/or post-graduate study in the near future.