Science Meets Parliament #SciParl2018

This past November, I had the honor of attending Canada’s inaugural ‘Science Meets Parliament’ event in Ottawa. Researchers, academics, parliamentarians, and policy makers from coast-to-coast were invited to come together to exchange ideas, build meaningful dialogue, and promote evidence-based scientific policy for the betterment of Canada’s future.

The event started with a lunch meeting hosted by Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada. Dr. Nemer gave a thought provoking talk about the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration between science and policy, reminding attendees that knowledge translation and information sharing are essential to strengthening and enriching our democracy.

Delighted to kick off #SciParl2018 with some of Canada’s top researchers. Looking forward to exchanging ideas as scientists and Parliamentarians come together to build meaningful dialogue. — Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada

There were many memorable moments of #SciParl2018, but I especially enjoyed attending a training workshop on effective knowledge mobilization practices at the Institute on Governance. The workshop emphasized the need to communicate practical applications of research when speaking to policy makers and highlighted the many challenges of developing and implementing evidenced-based policy. While in Ottawa, I also discussed social media research we are doing in the lab with a number of MPs including Majid Jowhari (Richmond Hill), Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard), and Bob Benzen (Calgary Heritage). Many MPs were interested in learning more about our recent public reports on social media use and users: Social Media and Political Engagement in CanadaThe State of Social Media in Canada 2017 and Social Media Privacy in Canada.

All in all, I left #SciParl2018 inspired and look forward to next year’s program! Speaking to the diversity of perspectives represented at #SciParl2018, the organizers of the next year’s event are planning to widen the call for participating researchers (this year’s event was only open to holders of Canada Research Chairs Tier 2).