Inaugural Director and Core Member, ISSP
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa
I had the privilege to be the rapporteur at the Workshop on Principles & Guidelines for Government Scientific Advice held on September 28, 2016 and to report the results to the plenary of the 2nd INGSA Conference two days later. The workshop was facilitated by James Wilsdon and Dan Sarewitz and included approximately 40 experts from 20 nations, with additional input from the Global Young Academy. I offer here observations from the rapporteur’s vantage point.
Postdoctoral Fellow, ISSP
Global Governance PhD candidate (ABD) at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo
The Canadian government has expressed a strong commitment to grounding its action on climate change in fact-based decision-making and robust science. Computer-based climate-economy models have become standard tools for aiding decisions on climate policy. As such, these models offer an important and revealing example of the science- policy interface that the ISSP works in.
Canada Research Chair in Information Law,
Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Municipal police services in North America now commonly make digital crime maps available to the public online. These interactive maps allow individuals to choose a particular part of their city, as well as a window of time (crimes in the last 7, 14 or 21 days, for example). They can search for all mapped crimes in this time frame or can limit their search to particular types of crime. The results are returned in the form of icons on a map of the selected area. The icons represent different categories of criminal activity, and clicking on each icon will reveal basic information about the incident.
Core member, ISSP
Professor, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa
Some of my colleagues and I take the old bingo-game approach to conferences: a point awarded for every mention of ‘paradigm shift,’ ‘disruptive,’ or ‘game changer.’ We can be rather smug about perceived naivety on the part of colleagues working in discovery-oriented research. We are also chronically irritated by the ongoing hype about genomics research, which is almost never lived up to. But I may have to shake off this jaded view of the world; it really does look like we have something genuinely exciting in the newest gene-editing techniques. CRISPR-Cas9 is not the first, but it is easy; so much so that the Nuffield Council on Bioethics warns about ‘garage scientists’ paying less than $200 to add it to their DIY toolkit. So, we have a technology which seems to work, is easy to use, and may be very affordable. No problems?
Last month, I participated in a workshop where experts and practitioners representing different academic disciplines and policy fields came together to explore issues related to risk management and evidence-based decision-making. I left the meeting with two thoughts percolating in my head: We are, indeed, inhabitants of what German sociologist Ulrich Beck coined a ‘‘risk society.” And, to my dismay, we are yet to have a meeting of minds between the fact-based scientists/experts and the value-based public.
On Thursday, April 29, at 12:00 PM, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy will host Prof. Mariam Humayun, Faculty Affiliate, ISSP and Assistant Professor, Marketing, Telfer School of Management, uOttawa, to discuss the emergence and resilience of Bitcoin.
On Tuesday, May 11, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, the ISSP and the RCIS will host an expert panel discussion on AI and machine learning.
Will AI and machine learning augment or replace human creativity? How do we teach creativity to the next generation in a world of AI and machine learning? And how do we ensure teaching creativity and innovation in this world remains inclusive?
On Thursday, May 27, at 12:00 PM, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy will host Prof. Handan Tezel, Faculty Affiliate, ISSP and Full Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Enginnering, Faculty of Enginnering, uOttawa, to discuss how we can capture carbon dioxide from combustion gases or from air and recycle it back to make fuels and other useful chemicals, instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.
The Critical Need for Evidence in Developing Good Public Policies - April 2014
Dr. Munir Sheikh reflected on how public policy can contribute fully to enhancing our quality of life if it is evidence-based. Professor Sheikh's talk concentrated on examples intended to drive home this point: two examples on the need to do better on developing evidence; two on using evidence appropriately. With respect to the first set of examples, the talk focused on the cancellation of the long form census and estimating the true size of government. Regarding the use of evidence, examples included the design of pollution taxes and policies focused on the middle class.
This event was organized in collaboration with Evidence for Democracy.
This panel discussion with David Willetts (UK Minister of State for Universities and Science), Martyn Poliakoff (Foreign Secretary, Royal Society), and Mary Bownes (University of Edinburgh) examined how science advice to government translates into informing government policy. This included discussing the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and how it operates.
This event was presented by the ISSP, the Center for International Policy Studies, and the British High Commission.
Canada’s existing legislative and institutional frameworks and competition policies: Is there a need for reform in light of the digital revolution?
The Hon. Konrad W. von Finckenstein reflected on the regulatory and governance challenges fostered by rapid technological innovation, including whether Canada's existing legislative frameworks and competition policies are up to the task of encouraging and promoting innovation in its broadcasting and telecommunications systems.
Science and Society 2013 aims to connect communities and uncover common goals, competing concerns and the possibility of joint strategies. The conference will have two different yet entwined components: (1) an academic component; and (2) a public component.
Congratulations to Jackie Dawson, Core Member and Canada Research Chair in Environment, Society and Policy at the ISSP uOttawa, recipient of the 2020 SSHRC Impact Connection Award for her climate change research.
How has COVID-19 affected Canadians' attitudes towards climate action? The sense of urgency appears to be trending up. Nik Nanos returns to the podcast to discuss results from the latest Positive Energy/Nanos quarterly tracking survey, including the appetite for climate ambition and levels of public trust in different information sources.