Discussing the role of scientific associations in policy and governance


This paper will examine the civic role of scientific associations, by drawing on the case of Portugal. It will present and discuss an example of the actions and interventions of Portuguese scientific associations in one particular controversy, namely the introduction nuclear energy, exploring the alliances made with political actors or NGOs, the tensions within the scientific community and the effects of “scientific” activism.

This paper is based on a yet exploratory analysis, sustained mainly on documentary evidence (books, newspaper articles, but also some exploratory interviews) that should later on be complemented by interviews with the main actors in the events described below. It is part of an ongoing research project on scientific associations funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.

Publication associated with Project Portugal Nuclear: Física, Tecnologia, Medicina e Ambiente (1910-2010).