To keep their academic freedom, scientists must be accountable to society.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is going on for more than a year now, has costed too many lives, and disrupted even more.
Without the results produced for decades, and even centuries, by basic, curiosity-driven scientific research, however, the global situation would have been much worse.
Without basic sciences, how would we know that infection is caused by a virus, what does that virus look like, what are its genetic sequence and variations? We could go on with a long list: testing, treatments, vaccines, epidemiological modeling, and even high-speed, long-distance communications – in short, everything that helps us fight the pandemic and its consequences – are all rooted in basic sciences.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder (so stark and brutal that we would prefer to have been spared) of our dependence on basic science to ensure balanced, sustainable, and inclusive development of the planet.
The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development 2022 will put the spotlight on the links between the basic sciences and the Sustainable Development Goals. It will be a key moment of mobilization to convince economic and political leaders, as well as the general public, of their importance.