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Thursday, November 8 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
(90 min) Science Fact or Science Fiction? How can science be heard in an age of misinformation? / Mythe ou réalité scientifique? De quelle façon la science peut-elle être entendue dans cet ère de désinformation?

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Organized by: David Johnson Research + Technology Park, University of Waterloo

Whether its climate change skepticism, falling vaccination rates, or the public pressure to shape policy that contravenes research findings, scientific information in all arenas struggles against waves of misinformation and disinformation that confirm our biases and reinforce the stories we want to tell ourselves about the world and how it works. As journalist Elfa Ýr Gylfadóttir noted in 2017, “It has even been said that, despite the easy access to knowledge, we as a human kind, are now living in the era of misinformation or disinformation.” (https://njc.dk/article/the-challenge-in-an-era-of-misinformation-and-disinformation/)

This isn't a new phenomenon – indeed the communication challenges facing science have deep historical roots – however, the rapid acceleration of digital technologies has given rise to a plurality of powerful, non-traditional voices who handily circumvent the gatekeeping and agenda setting functions of traditional institutions and outlets, planting the seeds of skepticism, mistrust and confusion. Meanwhile traditional information outlets continue to find themselves increasingly short on the time and resources necessary to fully investigate these stories, widening the gap between the general public and trusted, evidence-based information. This panel brings together experts from industry, academia, and media to discuss the historical challenges of communication and story-telling facing science and to explore how we can work together to create a stronger public discourse built on sound, evidence-based information to re-establish public trust and develop better policies. We’ll explore the historical challenges of scientific communications and how those are rapidly evolving in the digital era; how institutions, government, and industry and respond and leverage these emerging technologies to share information; and attempt to examine how we can work together to approach science communication at a broader policy level.

avatar for Mike Pereira

Mike Pereira

Manager, David Johnston Research + Technology Park, University of Waterloo
Mike Pereira is the Manager of the David Johnston Research + Technology Park at the University of Waterloo. Over the past ten years Mike has developed expertise in marketing, communications, and partnerships, working with organizations ranging from global enterprise to tech startups... Read More →

avatar for Rita Celli

Rita Celli

Host of Ontario Today, CBC Radio One
Rita Celli is host of the province-wide radio phone-in show Ontario Today, airing weekdays at noon on CBC Radio One. During her tenure, the show has earned a number of awards including three Gracie Awards for Outstanding Talk Show (2013, 2011, 2010), a Gabriel Award (2011), the RTNDA... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Erika Dyck

Dr. Erika Dyck

Professor, Department of History; Canada Research Chair in History of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Erika Dyck is a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine. She is the author of Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from Clinic to Campus (Johns Hopkins, 2008; University of Manitoba Press, 2011), Facing Eugenics: Reproduction... Read More →
avatar for Conway Fraser

Conway Fraser

Managing Director, Fraser Torosay
Conway Fraser is the Managing Director of Fraser Torosay, a strategic communications company based in Waterloo. He helps companies, organizations and leaders tell their stories clearly and persuasively. Conway has almost 30 years’ experience as a professional communicator and is... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Heather MacDougall

Dr. Heather MacDougall

Associate Professor, University of Waterloo
Heather teaches at the University of Waterloo, specializing in Canadian history and the  history of medicine, public health and health policy. Since publishing Activists & Advocates: Toronto's Health Department, 1883-1983 (Toronto, 1990), she has continued to research the history... Read More →

Thursday November 8, 2018 3:30pm - 5:00pm EST
Delta Ottawa, International Ballroom