Sunday, June 25, 2017

(These two salons met together on the final day)

T8 Science and Political-Social Perceptions
Led by: Jeff Williams, Science and Public Policy Journal

Description: How does US society and how does the US political system view science? Is it a monolithic entity or seen as moldable or variable, and responsive to change across a range of subject areas? Does science need to represent itself in these interactions, or should it serve only as a neutral source of knowledge?

T16 Science in Situ: Doing Science in Contexts Characterized by Political Complexity & Social Inequality
Led by: Paul Hirsch, Syracuse University, and Helmut Hirsch, University of Albany, SUNY

Description:  Research often takes place in social settings characterized by political complexity and social inequality, and scientists – consciously or unconsciously – become players in a larger set of dynamics that are not captured within the bounds of their research questions and methodologies. Even scientists wishing to be more reflective of the social implications of their work find themselves leaving the terrain in which they are comfortable, to enter realms within which they have no particular qualifications beyond that of an ordinary citizen. What is a responsible scientist to do? This Salon will be led by a policy scientist who has written about the ways in which scientific research in socially complex settings can go awry – specifically research on lead paint and its abatement – and a biologist identifying lead-dependent genetic changes in fruit flies, who just re-entered the domain of human research. After elucidating examples of the quandaries of scientists contemplating the relationship between research and its socio-political context, we will draw on the experiences and insights of participants to develop a suite of strategies (both at the individual and the institutional level) that can support an appropriate place for science in the world.

Notes:

  • What can our community do to move this topic forward? Who would we want to interact with to share our broader views on this topic for the rightful place of science?
  • STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
    • Can’t say everything to everyone: Must consider who we are communicating to
    • Strategic disengagement
  • How can we achieve this goal?
    • Communication: two-way; how to appreciate the complexity
    • Education
    • Articulate the outcomes associated with various value sets
  • Themes:
    • Hubris and Arrogance versus Humility
    • Science over-reaching its bounds – and promising more than it delivers (e.g. CA stem cell research promises results within five years)

Major Consensus Agenda Item:

  • In moments of engagement between scientists and media/decision-makers, how well do structures and institutions get the most out of science and keep science in its rightful place?
  • Teach science to span socio-technological MOMENTS OF ENGAGEMENT
  • The role of the scientist must EVOLVE (transparent values, say what you know and what you don’t know, etc)

Other Agenda Items:

  • Change National Education Standards: Science instruction for grades K-12 will be 75% genuine inquiry and 25% other areas (concepts, definitions, reading); also, all science is taught by specialist instructors at all levels
  • Basic science education in public policy and administration training as well as basic communication training in science
  • University should play a role in creating a base for framing and contextualizing science
  • Continuous education on opposing viewpoints for all stakeholders to diminish complacency
  • Increase the number of collaborative forums to encourage the growth of diverse networks
  • Teach science in elementary school: focus on the fun of scientific inquiry
  • Research the impact and outcomes of different kinds of communication
  • Influence the discourse in on this topic to recognize that science is NOT monolithic
  • Analyze the ability of a political institution to process information provided by people qualified as having scientific expertise to identify how that information is received and utilized

Scientists should:

  • Recognize when less is more
  • Develop processes to determine relevant role: discern whether or not the topic is controversial and act accordingly, seek out continuous education and training
  • Receive media training to learn how to covey a clear message, how to determine their appropriate role in the discourse, and how to speak English not just technical jargon
  • Strategic contraction of science and education: build on their strengths, test out how to communicate complexity, and become more transparent in their values
  • Learn to seek and reflect on their work
  • Learn to speak in clear plain English about their work

(These two salons met together on the final day)

T8 Science and Political-Social Perceptions

Led by: Jeff Williams, Science and Public Policy Journal

How does US society and how does the US political system view science? Is it a monolithic entity or seen as moldable or variable, and responsive to change across a range of subject areas? Does science need to represent itself in these interactions, or should it serve only as a neutral source of knowledge?

T16 Science in Situ: Doing Science in Contexts Characterized by Political Complexity & Social Inequality

Led by: Paul Hirsch, Syracuse University, and Helmut Hirsch, University of Albany, SUNY

Research often takes place in social settings characterized by political complexity and social inequality, and scientists – consciously or unconsciously – become players in a larger set of dynamics that are not captured within the bounds of their research questions and methodologies. Even scientists wishing to be more reflective of the social implications of their work find themselves leaving the terrain in which they are comfortable, to enter realms within which they have no particular qualifications beyond that of an ordinary citizen. What is a responsible scientist to do? This Salon will be led by a policy scientist who has written about the ways in which scientific research in socially complex settings can go awry – specifically research on lead paint and its abatement – and a biologist identifying lead-dependent genetic changes in fruit flies, who just re-entered the domain of human research. After elucidating examples of the quandaries of scientists contemplating the relationship between research and its socio-political context, we will draw on the experiences and insights of participants to develop a suite of strategies (both at the individual and the institutional level) that can support an appropriate place for science in the world.

Notes:

§ What can our community do to move this topic forward? Who would we want to interact with to share our broader views on this topic for the rightful place of science?

§ STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

o Can’t say everything to everyone: Must consider who we are communicating to

o Strategic disengagement

§ How can we achieve this goal?

o Communication: two-way; how to appreciate the complexity

o Education

o Articulate the outcomes associated with various value sets

§ Themes:

o Hubris and Arrogance versus Humility

o Science over-reaching its bounds – and promising more than it delivers (e.g. CA stem cell research promises results within five years)

Major Consensus Agenda Item:

§ In moments of engagement between scientists and media/decision-makers, how well do structures and institutions get the most out of science and keep science in its rightful place?

§ Teach science to span socio-technological MOMENTS OF ENGAGEMENT

§ The role of the scientist must EVOLVE (transparent values, say what you know and what you don’t know, etc)

Other Agenda Items:

§ Change National Education Standards: Science instruction for grades K-12 will be 75% genuine inquiry and 25% other areas (concepts, definitions, reading); also, all science is taught by specialist instructors at all levels

§ Basic science education in public policy and administration training as well as basic communication training in science

§ University should play a role in creating a base for framing and contextualizing science

§ Continuous education on opposing viewpoints for all stakeholders to diminish complacency

§ Increase the number of collaborative forums to encourage the growth of diverse networks

§ Teach science in elementary school: focus on the fun of scientific inquiry

§ Research the impact and outcomes of different kinds of communication

§ Influence the discourse in on this topic to recognize that science is NOT monolithic

§ Analyze the ability of a political institution to process information provided by people qualified as having scientific expertise to identify how that information is received and utilized

Scientists should:

§ Recognize when less is more

§ Develop processes to determine relevant role: discern whether or not the topic is controversial and act accordingly, seek out continuous education and training

§ Receive media training to learn how to covey a clear message, how to determine their appropriate role in the discourse, and how to speak English not just technical jargon

§ Strategic contraction of science and education: build on their strengths, test out how to communicate complexity, and become more transparent in their values

§ Learn to seek and reflect on their work

§ Learn to speak in clear plain English about their work

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