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Knowledge Frontiers

Knowledge Frontiers

The complexities of global change and world (dis)integration and the proliferation of diverse communities of knowledge, practice and intelligence highlight the importance of international and interdisciplinary collaboration. Under this theme the British Academy's programme of activities aims to enable different communities of practice to illustrate the validity and unique added value of international and interdisciplinary collaboration in enhancing and expanding our understanding of current knowledge.

The British Academy will be hosting the latest in its series of Early Career Researcher Symposia in collaboration with the Academy of Science of South Africa in Gauteng, South Africa from 21-23 February 2019. The theme of this workshop is Urban Lives, and will convene early career researchers from across the humanities and social sciences to bring multi-disciplinary and cross-regional insights to bear on our understanding of urban life, and to develop new approaches to the challenges of sustainable urban development, and more broadly the challenges and opportunities of life – past, present and future; real and imaginary – in urban environments. The Call for Applications is alongside this page. The call closes at 5pm (GMT) on Wednesday 14 November.

We have collaborated with the other UK national academies – the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Academy of Engineering – to convene a UK national committee for Future Earth. UK Future Earth brings together representatives from academia, government, research councils, business and societal partners to provide a UK platform for engaging with Future Earth's global environmental change agenda.

Future Earth is a 10-year major international research platform for providing the knowledge and support to accelerate durable transformations to a sustainable world. Future Earth aims to develop a new type of science that links disciplines, knowledge systems and societal partners to support a more agile and innovative global response through the co-design and co-production of knowledge.


The British Academy also chairs the ALLEA Working Group "Truth, Trust and Expertise", a transnational platform for perspectives on the nature of and relationship between truth, trust and expertise in the field of science. The expert group aims to interrogate and explore current and past dynamics of public trust in expertise and the contested norms of what constitutes truth, facts and evidence in scientific research and beyond. Central themes of the group include: the alleged loss of trust in science and evidence, questions of how valid knowledge can and should be acquired and communicated, and how different academic disciplines are dealing with these challenges.

A first meeting on the "Loss of Trust(worthiness)?" took place at the British Academy, followed by a second meeting at the Bulgarian Academy of Science on the spectres of Scientific Knowledge Production in the 21st Century. 

The Working Group has published a discussion paper focussing on how trust in expertise is place or refused, highlights the affective dimension of epistemic trust, and discussed the danger of a 'context collapse' in digital communication. 

The 2018 ALLEA General Assembly has alo featured the work of the Working Group and invited its participants to discuss the nature of and relationship between truth, trust and expertise in the field of science.


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