This week my fellowship here in Boulder is coming to an end, and therefore I am going to close also my personal science & policy blog, in which I reflected over the past four months on issues related to the science-policy interface. I would like to use the opportunity to say thank you to the many people who made my stay in Colorado possible and so enjoyable.
First and foremost, I want to thank the EU Fellowship Programme, which funded my stay here in Boulder, giving me the opportunity to get to know the US system better, while helping me to promote the EU to our American friends. I also thank the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) for allowing me to take part in the programme and the EU Delegation in Washington for staying in touch. I will feed the experiences gained back into the European Commission, at first instance in my new job in the Scientific Advice Mechanism Unit in DG Research and Innovation.
Second, I would like to thank all the fantastic people here at the Center for Science & Technology Policy Research – or “Grandview” as they call it internally, both after the street in which the center is located and after the grand view it has on Boulder’s iconic Flatirons. Roger Pielke jr. has done a great job in creating an intellectually stimulating environment (and in introducing my kids to Halloween habits as he happens to live in the neighborhood with the highest candy density of Boulder). Also the support staff over here, Bobbie, Ami and Robin, have always been helpful in sorting out issues as did the people working in the International Department of the University of Colorado. Likewise, I thank all the wonderful people I met here and with whom I had stimulating discussions, either at the university or at the federal institutes located in Boulder (UCAR, NOAA, NIST) and Golden (NREL). Among the many I just want to mention here Ross Coriotis, former senior science fellow in the State Department, who attended many of my lectures and provided a lot of insights into US politics and mindsets.
Third, I want to thank the Colorado EU Center of Excellence, led by its Scientific Director Martin Rhodes and its Executive Director Felicia Martinez Naranjo, who have supported me throughout my fellowship and brokered a number of speaking and lecturing opportunities in Boulder, Denver and Laramie/Wyoming (where I was happy to meet my former Ispra colleague Robert Field). This included a panel at an energy & climate conference at the University of Denver chaired by the former Governor of Colorado Bill Ritter ahead of the Paris Climate Conference.
Finally, I would like to thank you, the readers of my personal blog, for having read my posts with which I hope to have triggered some thinking around the science-policy relationship – a relationship that is more crucial than ever in these challenging times. I want to reiterate once again that all articles on my blog reflect my personal thoughts only, based on many years of experience in the “twilight zone” between science and policy. I hope that they helped a bit to advance the “science of science advice” and give insights to practitioners working in the field. I offer my apologies in case I stepped on anybody’s toes, either advertently or inadvertently.
I am returning to “good old Europe” now, which has changed significantly since I left it, with terrorism, the refugee crisis and populist movements putting the European project under strain. At the same time, the recent conclusion of the Paris climate agreement – a masterpiece of European and in particular French diplomacy – offers hope for all of us, showing that it is indeed worth going the extra mile of communicating scientific evidence to policy-makers, even if sometimes political decisions take longer in the making than scientists would like to. It is certainly no surprise that this success was only possible when Europe and the US finally teamed up on climate action, striking together for a better world, thus demonstrating the value of the Trans-Atlantic partnership. Count me in as an ambassador for it.
I wish everybody a merry Christmas and a successful year 2016!
Jan Marco Müller