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Ahti Salo, “Reflections on Providing Science-Based Policy Advice: Experiences from Finland’s COVID-19 Scientific Panel and Research Reviews”

December 10, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Part of the European Studies 2021-2022 Lecture Series.

Across the world, the unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced policy makers to take decisions involving far-reaching consequences for health, economy and society; enormous time pressure; and high uncertainties and even ambiguities concerning alternative policy options and their impacts. As one of the small Nordic countries, Finland has fared better than many others both in view of its mortality rate (around 225 deaths per 1 million) and reported resilience rankings.

In this talk, he will describe some of the initiatives which the Prime Minister’s Office in Finland has introduced to strengthen the dialogue between policy makers and researchers. Specifically, he will discuss the role of the COVID-19 Science Panel in informing the Government of the likely consequences of the pandemic. He will also discuss the rationale and different uses of the widely distributed research reviews which have continued to provide science-based decision support to Finnish policy makers since August 2020. Furthermore, he will provide illustrative examples on collaborative risk management, noting that in contexts such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there are benefits in adopting a collaborative approach in which results from formal modelling approaches are complemented by bringing in expertise from a broad range of stakeholders.


Professor Ahti Salo has written more than 180 scientific publications on the development of decision analytic methods and their uses in resource allocation, efficiency analysis, innovation management and risk assessment. As an educator at Aalto University and formerly at Helsinki University of Technology, he has supervised 26 Doctoral Dissertations and 175 Master’s Thesis to completion. He has received several awards from the Decision Analysis Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In 2019, he won the MCDM Edgeworth-Pareto Award, the highest distinction of the International Society for Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) for demonstrating a high level of creativity in developing novel areas of application of MCDM and associated methodology.

In April and May 2020, Professor Salo was member of the COVID-19 Science Panel, appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office to provide scientific support for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since August 2020, he has produced COVID-19 research reviews for the Finnish Government with responsibilities for resilience and foresight. During the electoral period 2019-2023, he serves on the Government Foresight Group of the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland.




December 10, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm