The G-Science Academies is a group of science academies made up of the G-7 countries, plus an additional seven countries, that releases periodical statements to their respective governments on the state of science in the world. Three reports were released in 2020; one, of potential special interest to psychological scientists, is a new statement on the challenges, benefits, and needs of basic research.
The G-Science Academies’ main recommendation is that long-term public funding in basic research should be restored and sustained to provide a foundation of knowledge that can be used to meet current and future challenges. The statement discusses the integral role of fundamental knowledge and the important contributions that basic behavioral research can make to a variety of key topics, including the effects of human activity on the planet and the social and ethical implications of the development climate technologies.
The report recognizes that research and development applications stemming from basic research may take a while to be realized; nevertheless, an infrastructure of basic science knowledge must be laid before further applications can be pursued. These benefits, though, can eventually be significant.
“Economists have estimated the social rate of return for all research and development investments to range up to as much as 100 percent,” highlights the report.
According to the statement, basic research’s promising rate of return makes it even more imperative that public funding for science be sustained and protected moving to the future. Public funding can promote honesty, fairness, and accountability in science, holding research to the highest levels of transparency and quality. The statement highlights how public investment in science can encourage private sector research; also noted is the inherently global nature of science and how scientific discovery should be open across countries to build international understanding and peace.
The report offers five recommendations: (1) restore and sustain long-term public funding of basic research, (2) build capacity via STEM education, (3) cooperate globally, (4) collaborate across disciplines, and (5) openly publish research results. Given the global reach and prestige of the academies involved in the creation of this statement, its recommendations should be thoroughly considered and used for reference throughout government and private industry.
Any psychological scientist with a strong interest in the global basic research enterprise should be sure to read more on this issue from the G-Science Academies. Two other reports were released by the joint academies in 2020, one on the topic of health systems, and the other on global insect declines and the ramifications for the ecosystem.
The science academies involved in the creation of the basic science statement were:
- Academia Brasiliera de Ciéncias – Brazil
- The Royal Society of Canada – Canada
- Chinese Academy of Sciences – China
- Academié des Sciences – France
- German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina – Germany
- Global Young Academy
- Indian National Science Academy – India
- Indonesian Academy of Sciences – Indonesia
- Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei – Italy
- Science Council of Japan – Japan
- Korean Academy of Science and Technology – Korea
- Nigerian Academy of Science – Nigera
- The Royal Society – United Kingdom
- The National Academy of Sciences – United States of America