Policymaking tracker calls for global volunteers

Mapping of the spread of Coronavirus across the world.

An international science advice network has launched a global Covid-19 policymaking tracker to keep track of how evidence is informing policy interventions by various governments across the world.

Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures – a think tank and research centre at the University of Auckland – hosts the secretariat of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA), which has more than 5000 members in 100 countries.

INGSA Executive Officer Lara Cowen says the network has launched a global Covid-19 policymaking tracker to track how policy decisions are made during the pandemic. It aims to understand the decision making process in each government’s response to COVID-19.

“Never has there been a rallying point for science advice at a global scale as we are now experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  With it come the hallmarks of advising in a time of crisis:  the evidence is uncertain, the science is fast-moving, the stakes are high and, in some public discussions at least, values are in dispute,” she says.

The goal was to mobilise the INGSA network to help keep track of how – not necessarily what – policy interventions are being made by various national and sub-national (state, province) governments across the world.

“In particular, we want to focus on whether justifications are given for a policy announcement, what person or group is providing the advice or evidence, and whether there is any evidence cited in the policy announcement.”

She acknowledges there are other COVID-19 policy trackers being developed but says INGSA’s tracker fills an important niche.

“It is important to distinguish the INGSA project as a policymaking tracker – our primary interest is not to compare policy choices but to understand and compare what was behind those choices,” says Ms Cowen.

The policy tracker will also be an invaluable tool to feed into a larger comparative study being developed by INGSA which will focus on understanding the kinds of evidence, its uptake and mechanisms used to develop and implement interventions by governments, and how the approaches varied by jurisdiction.

INGSA chair Professor Sir Peter Gluckman says the policymaking tracker is key to understanding the various ways in which evidence is used at different stages of the pandemic.

“The policy-making tracker will help us understand the broader conceptual frameworks of evidence-to-policy pathways that could help guide best response to other transnational crises in the future”.

INGSA is currently recruiting volunteer rapporteurs from each national jurisdiction. In you are interesting in finding out more, please contact covid@ingsa.org.

To visit the policymaking tracker, click here.


INGSA is a collaborative platform for policy exchange, capacity building and research across diverse global science advisory organisations and national systems. Through workshops, conferences, tools and guidance, the network helps to enhance the global science-policy interface to improve the potential for evidence-informed policy formation at sub-national, national and transnational levels.

Our themes