Researchers Harro van Lente (MUSTS) and Tsjalling Swierstra (MUSTS) are members of the Health Council of the Netherlands, an independent scientific advisory body for government and parliament. The task of the Council is to inform and advise Dutch government and the Dutch parliament about questions, risks and policies in the field of public health. The issues include, for example, nutrition regulation, environmental protection, occupational health risks and medical population screening.
While most members of the Health Council are experts in the field of medicine, pharmaceutics or environmental health risks, the expertise of Science, Technology and Society studies (STS) is also highly valued. Public health issues do not just require medical knowledge, but also raise typical STS questions about the boundaries of expertise, about the dynamics of novel technologies and about the normative grounds of public interventions. Harro van Lente and Tsjalling Swierstra bring such issues to the table and suggest how the Health Council might work. The Health Council is thus a unique setting to bring STS insights to fruition.