This morning at 07.00 it was still quiet. The registration for this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science opened later, at 07:30, but there was already at breakfast the usual vibrating atmosphere of engaged scientists.
Now the first pre-meeting session is going on. The theme is “Communicating Science and Policy”. We are learning from the panel about the importance of educating politicians, meeting with them and following up the meetings as a continuous process of mutual interest. Not surprisingly, there is a general agreement, both in the panel and the delegates, on that such contacts are important for factual-based decisions and also to provide researchers with an understanding of how policy and funding decisions are achieved.
The three 10-minute presentations from the panel triggered a very long and broad list of oral and twitter questions to the session’s organizers. Many personal experiences and useful recommendations are being presented and discussed. Of course, the themes and solutions are not totally new for researchers who have considered the issues of communicating science but they are a good reminder of the importance of these questions and that there is a large body of engaged scientists. The involvement and enthusiasm of our american colleagues is very good news and I am hopefull that they will succeed in their efforts to educate the public and the politicians that represent them.
An interesting aspect raised by a member of the audience was the need to draw a line between unacceptable lobbying and educational meetings with decision makers. High integrity and ethic standards apply here too, of course!
Looks like this will be a giving meeting, although it has not yet started officially.
Great to have the opportunity to be part of this!