Review of TSPN’s Science & Public Policy 101 Workshop

Our second installment in the TSPN 101 workshop series was held on Tuesday, 13th November 2018 on the topic of Science and Public Policy 101. Although, our invited workshop speaker Dr. Nicole Klenk (Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto) was unable to attend on the day, her PhD student Brian Pentz, stepped in and led us in a very successful workshop.

After opening remarks by TSPN executive Ellen Gute, attendees split into groups to tackle the first workshop activity. Participants discussed whether advocating for the use of science in policy-making was the same as advocating for a particular policy option in addressing a public policy issue, discussed priorities in Canada’s latest science policy, and whether it was important to have a policy on scientific integrity at the science-policy interface.

Following the activity, groups shared their thoughts and posed questions such as: “Should we be giving science a voice or should science be the voice?” and “Who is responsible for science communication? And who pays for it? The researchers, the funding agencies, or news and media organizations?”

Participants then took part in the second activity, which was a case study on Dr. Arpad Pusztai and the GMO controversy. This prompted discussions on what the role of a scientist is in the context of public policy. Are scientists science advocates, bipartisan science/information providers, or advocates for particular policy? Do scientists have an obligation to note what is their opinion and what is scientific fact when they speak to the public?

TSPN would like to give a big thank you to Brian Pentz for sharing his knowledge with the University of Toronto community. We would also like to thank our sponsors: the UofT Student Initiative Fund, the University of Toronto’s Chemistry Department, and the Chemical Institute of Canada – Toronto Section.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who attended and participated in this event. We hope that this event made you consider science in the broader context of public policy!

The TSPN Team

Read the original post about this event:  Science & Public Policy 101: What is the science policy interface?