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Aidan Gilligan (Irish) is Founder and CEO of the SciCom Network, a Brussels and Cape Town-based science diplomacy agency with Associates in Copenhagen, Geneva, London and Paris, striving to make greater sense of science-policy-making for public, private and especially cause-related groups.
SciCom draws on over twenty-five years of top-tier experience working at the nexus of science and society, particularly on emotionally charged issues around public health, energy policy or international competition and statecraft. Harm reduction science and drug policy reform are major areas of interest. Its corporate ethos is to engage with decision-makers at the highest levels of the global scientific enterprise to champion ‘evidence-based policy-making above policy-biased evidence-making’. This work underpins the decade-long 2012 – 2022 Brussels & Cape Town Declarations defending and empowering the rights of grass-roots activists.
An EU affairs and comparative political systems expert, prior to launching SciCom – Making Sense of Science, Aidan spent four years as Director of Communications at the College of Europe, two years as Scientific Press Officer at WPP’s Hill & Knowlton, and ten years at the heart of the Communication Services of the European Union’s in-house science services, Directorate General Research & the Joint Research Center. Aidan was also seconded by the EC to the Office of the Irish Chief Science Adviser to Coordinate Dublin’s successful bid to host European City of Science.
Amongst other roles, Aidan served on the EU’s cross-institutional Crisis Communications Team, was EC Press Officer at the Bali Climate Negotiations and was a speechwriter for various EC Commissioners for Research. Working closely with international science media, Aidan helped manage over 100 scientific demonstration events from GMO technologies and hydrogen fuel cells, to brain tumour treatments and earth observation by satellites.
As CEO of SciCom, Aidan has served on multiple voluntary committees promoting scientific conferencing and especially science journalism capacity-building. More recently, he conceived and delivered the World Federation for Science Journalists’ global media grants call for the 2022 World Science Forum, Cape Town. Since 2010, Aidan has equally chaired multiple International Media & Marketing Committees for Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF); the Latin America & Caribbean Open Science Forum (ForoCILAC); and the World Science Forum (WSF). He always advocates for funding to support media participation and career-changing opportunities for young reporters.
Aidan actively organizes scientific panels at the above-mentioned large generalist conferences, plus Science Agora Tokyo, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), KOFAC Seoul etc. He is accredited, amongst others, as the initiator of Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) and the Latin America & Caribbean Science Open Forum (ForoCILAC).
Current roles include, amongst others, consultancy services to the Japanese government’s Science & Technology Agency (JST); to the South African Ministry of Higher Education, Science & Technology; to the Office of the Chief Science Advisor to the government of Quebec (FRQ); to the International Network for Governmental Science Advice (INGSA); and to the International Council for Science (ISC). Aidan is also a long-standing Contributor to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Assessment for Europe.