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Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: Canadian Science Policy Conference

Canadian Science Policy Conference Video: Bruce Alberts, Preston Manning and Other Luminaries

The first Canadian Science Policy Conference was held at the end of October this year, and video and audio of the event is now available at the conference website.  I’d encourage you to check out the whole thing, but definite highlights include:

  • Preston Manning and Bruce Alberts (links to conference videos), who both called for greater involvement of scientists in politics at all levels.  I discussed Bruce Alberts’ proposals in a blog post at the time. Also,
  • On the third day of the conference, there was a great panel on science journalism, media, and communication (audio only), which was moderated by Paul Wells (senior columnist for Maclean’s) and included Mark Henderson (managing editor of Research Money), Nicola Jones (commissioning editor of Nature), Chantal Barriault (co-director of the science communication graduate program at Science North) and Peter Calamai (a science reporter from the Toronto Star whose remarks were read by Mr. Wells). Each had very interesting things to say about science journalism and scientists’ communications to the public.

I also had the privelege of moderating a panel that included Tom Brzustowski, Ronald Dyck, Jorge Niosi and Mark Romoff, who presented a range of approaches to commercialization strategy.  There’s no video of our panel, but you can listen to it here, and I have located a visual aid…

If you look closely, I believe you can see Ron Dyck praying that I’m almost done talking.  I’m not sure when the picture was taken, exactly, but it is statistically unlikely that his prayer was granted.

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Bruce Alberts’ Two Strategies to Promote the Impact of Science on Policy

In Bruce Alberts‘ keynote tonight kicking off Canada’s first Science Policy Conference, he highlighted two approaches to increasing the role of science on policy decisions. Here they are:

  1. To spread science, we need to spread scientists. Scientists in government, pre-college education, law, media and business can bridge cultures. Academic programs need to encourage alternate careers. He strongly recommends a National Academies-type science fellowship program for Canada.
  2. Outreach and aid internationally to build strong scientific organizations/academies in other nations. E.g., Canada’s efforts through the International Development Research Centre.

These actually sound like one strategy to me: dispersal.  It just has two axes. One is dispersal of scientists among careers, and the other is dispersal of scientists among nations.  Count my vote for multi-dimensional dispersal of scientists.  The more empiricists, the merrier.

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