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Thursday, November 8 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
(90 min) Making Science Matter: Overcoming barriers to knowledge mobilization and science communication

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Organized by: NIVA Inc. - Sean Young-Steinberg

Hi there Ms. Scientist, that looks like some interesting work you are doing there - but please help me
understand: what does it really mean, who is implicated, and why should Canadians care? So, Mr.
Researcher, you say those are some important results, but how can this information be put into use if
it is just sitting there, buried in a journal article that policy makers or other stakeholders won’t read,
nor comprehend? How do we put this in an accessible form that will motivate audiences to act on it?

The billions of dollars spent each year in Canada on scientific research and development generates a
tremendous volume of critical new knowledge and information. This includes gaining a better understanding of the world we live in, innovative new technologies that improve our quality of life, and ways to reduce the impact humans are having on the planet. While these efforts all have great merit on their own, without the capacity to effectively transmit this knowledge to the people who are in a position to make decisions or change their behaviours, little to no action will ever come of it.
Mobilizing scientific knowledge, whether from discovery to decision making, findings to funding, or from research to regulation, is no easy task. A key element for engaging, informing, and motivating target audiences is developing high-impact messaging that is clear, simple, and relevant. This approach also includes “knowledge brokering” as a means to bridge these two worlds to ensure that the right information is available to the right people.

More broadly, science communication is essentially distilling complex information into to its key
elements, and translating them into accessible plain language and visual representations that are tailored to specific audiences, to ensure they understand the message you are trying to deliver. These communications must be developed with a deep appreciation of the needs and motivations of a given audience. The use of narratives and storytelling are also key tools to engage and bring an emotional connection to your readers, and for communicating complex subjects to policy-makers and the general public.

With all this being said, there can be significant barriers and challenges that prevent knowledge mobilization and science communication activities from effectively delivering information to the right people at the right time so it can have an impact. What are those barriers, and how can they be overcome? What are some examples of success and failure in this regard? This session will explore how knowledge can be better mobilized and communicated to move people (including policy makers) to action, enable well-informed decisions, and bring it into active use. Successfully making the connections between research/expertise and policy/practice is critical to achieving desired outcomes and this includes building relationships, trust, and understanding between knowledge creators and users.

avatar for Anton Holland

Anton Holland

President and CEO, NIVA Inc.
Anton Holland is the President and CEO of NIVA Inc., Canada’s leading consultancy specializing in science, technical, and risk communication. For almost 40 years, NIVA has been helping clients transform complex information into compelling narratives, convert raw knowledge into action... Read More →

avatar for Dr. Aline Dimitri

Dr. Aline Dimitri

Executive Director, Food Safety Science Directorate and Deputy Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Dr. Aline Dimitriis the Executive Director of the Food Safety Science Directorate and the Deputy Chief Food Safety Officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).Dr. Dimitri is responsible for providing science advice, scientific risk intelligence, and overall science direction... Read More →
avatar for Jim Handman

Jim Handman

Executive Director, Science Media Centre of Canada
Jim Handman is a freelance science journalist, media  trainer, and as of 2017, the executive director of the Science Media Centre of Canada.  For 17 years, Jim was the Executive Producer of  CBC Radio's award-winning science program, Quirks &  Quarks. Jim has also taught broadcast... Read More →
avatar for Purnima Sundar

Purnima Sundar

Director of Knowledge Mobilization, Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health
Purnima Sundar is the Director of Knowledge Mobilization at the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Childand Youth Mental Health. She has over 20 years of experience doing community-based, participatoryaction research and program evaluation in the areas of community mental health anddiversity/multiculturalism... Read More →

Thursday November 8, 2018 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Delta Ottawa - Chaudière