About

Rationale

Science and technology shape our world.  They present great promise, but they are also the source of much controversy and social anxiety.  Like never before there is a need for broad and informed discussion of science and technology and their place in our society. Yet the communities that engage in, benefit from, and seek to understand science and technology are often disconnected.  Their shared interests are often misunderstood, and their common goals overlooked.  This disconnect not only impoverishes our grasp of science and technology and their social and cultural contexts but can also have negative consequences for the public good.

Co-organized by the Situating Science SSHRC Strategic Knowledge Cluster (www.situsci.ca) and the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy (www.issp.uottawa.ca), the Science and Society 2013 symposium aims to understand and address the key issues at the interface of science, technology, society and policy.

The event will connect disparate themes and bring different groups with shared interests together to brainstorm solutions to common challenges. It will demonstrate that collaboration among academics, students, policy makers, stakeholders and the public at large can lead to new insights and a deeper understanding of the social and cultural contexts of science and technology. In this way, the symposium hopes to make the discussion of science and technology and their place in society more prominent in the national dialogue.

Design

The program is available here.

The symposium will have two complementary components:

  1. An academic component, involving scholars, scientists, students and public servants. This will take place during the day.
  2. A public component designed for a truly broad audience.  This will take place in the evening.

Daytime sessions and plenaries are invitational. Evening events are open to the public and free with registration. To register to attend the free evening public events, please click here.

The uniqueness of the symposium consists in its aim to provide recommendations on how to envision and improve the science-society interface.  As part of their involvement in the event, all speakers and participants will be asked to address the following question:

How can we understand and improve the interplay between science and society, and improve science policies for the future?

On the basis of the debate and answers, a results document will be created in which the potentially diverging views of different groups will be analyzed and distributed among media and key decision makers.

Symposium session, plenary and keynote themes include:
How Science is Public; Science Communication; Science and Democracy; Value-Laden Science; International Lessons in Science Policy; Citizen Science; Technology and Media; Responsible Innovation and the Future of Technology; Art, Science and Technology; Open Science; Government Science; Education and the Culture of Science; and Innovation and Society.

Outcomes

  • A results document, published by the ISSP, summarizing key insights regarding science and society for distribution among media and key decision makers;
  • New media and political interest, in particular with respect to key issues (e.g. e.g. evidence-based decision making, the importance of science in a democratic society);
  • New thinking and debate among scholars, policymakers, scientists, students and the public;
  • New inter-disciplinary networks;
  • Dissemination of  content in print and/or www formats and/or video/podcast/live streaming;
  • Student training and engagement.

Organizers

The Organizing Committee consists of members of partners and co-organizing organizations, the Situating Science SSHRC Strategic Knowledge Cluster (www.situsci.ca) and the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy (www.issp.uottawa.ca).

  • Marc Saner, Director, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa
  • Jeremy Geelen, Project and Public Affairs Manager, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa
  • Dara Marcus, Symposium Coordinator, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa
  • Gordon McOuat, Director, Situating Science Strategic Knowledge Cluster, University of King’s College
  • Emily Tector, Project Coordinator, Situating Science Strategic Knowledge Cluster, University of King’s College

Both partners have brought diverse groups together before.  Each has its own networks, resources and strengths that align with select themes and audiences of the symposium.  The successful combination of these capacities will make Science and Society 2013 a multi-sectorial, multi-disciplinary event that addresses issues of concern to all Canadians.

 

Thank you to our sponsors!

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