top of page

Legitimacy and trust:
Improving the use of evidence in politics and society 

Wednesday, 17 November 2021, 14:25-15:30 CET

Interpretation available: ARA, FRA, POR, RUS, SPA

> Session flyer

The COVID-19 response was coined by a rapid acceleration of evidence production and a deluge of misinformation, both contributing to growing distrust in scientific evidence and public policy around the globe. Researchers and policy-makers as well as health workers, journalists, and donors found themselves in a new climate of public criticism, hesitancy, and doubt. Across sectors and disciplines, the frontline of the COVID-19 response was at the forefront of a crisis of confidence in scientific research and health policy, directly jeopardizing the effectiveness of public health and prevention measures. 

Trust in scientific research and the effectiveness of evidence-informed decision-making is a linchpin for functional evidence-policy-society systems. The legitimacy and reputation of both evidence producers and users depend on public perception, and hence require active stakeholder engagement and full transparency on decision-making processes. 

Within the research system, strategic communication of research findings for uptake beyond the academic realm is however rarely prioritized or rewarded. Knowledge brokers, media outlets and journalists, on the other hand, may struggle to interpret complex evidence to convey it to a diverse public, and are missing the necessary risk communication approach to engage citizens and counter distrust and misinformation. Policy-makers and government actors must also invest in being transparent and open in their rationale, justifying both evidence-informed decision-making and mitigation strategies to tackle uncertainty.


Two keynotes and a stakeholder panel will explore strategies on how trust in evidence and legitimacy of evidence-informed policy-making can be restored and strengthened and give voice to actors’ experience operating at the frontline of the multi-facetted pandemic response.

Key questions and session highlights 

Stakeholders are invited to discuss the following key issues:


  • What tools and structures make research communication and knowledge brokering and translation more effective, particularly within the context of a global health emergency? 

  • How can openness and transparency of inputting evidence in policy processes be improved to increase public trust and legitimacy? 

  • What is the role of traditional communication and dissemination channels alongside new digital and social media? How can the portfolio of different tools be used for effective and meaningful communication and interaction?

  • How can evidence be circulated, co-created and communicated to increase engagement with citizens and the public and mitigate uncertainty and misinformation in future health crises?




bottom of page