Science and Society 2013 Symposium

Network Node: 
Mon., Oct. 21, 2013, 8:00am - Wed., Oct. 23, 2013, 5:00pm


Science and Society 2013
Emerging Agendas for Citizens and the Sciences  
October 21-23, 2013
University of Ottawa Campus

More details, including program and registration information, will be updated on the event webpage:


Register online via the link above now to attend the 3 public events!

Call for Abstracts for Student Poster Session during Symposium! (Closed)

Concept, Mission and Goals

Science and technology shape our world. They present great promise but they are also the source of much controversy and social anxiety. Like never before, there is a need for broad and informed discussion of science and technology and their place in our society. 

Yet the communities that engage in, benefit from, and seek to understand science and technology are often disconnected. Their shared interests are often misunderstood, and their common goals overlooked. This disconnect not only impoverishes our grasp of science and technology and their social implications but can also have negative consequences for the public good.

Science and Society 2013 will connect these communities and uncover common goals, competing concerns and the possibility of joint strategies. It will involve and reach out to practitioners from various sectors, academics of diverse disciplines and an increasingly interested public. At its broadest level it will explore the relationships between public policy, scientific research and the study of science itself – including but limited to how these inform one another.

The symposium will have two different yet entwined components:

(1) an academic component involving scholars, scientists, students and public servants. This will take place during the day. ; and

(2) a public component designed for a truly broad audience and potentially involving additional collaborators. This will take place in the evening and Wednesday afternoon.

Fostering dialogue between scholars, students, public servants and the general public will not only shed new light on the common challenges and opportunities facing these groups but will also point the way towards novel solutions and courses of action.

The uniqueness of the symposium consists in its aim to provide recommendations on how to envision and improve the science-society interface.  As part of their involvement in the event, all speakers and participants will be asked to address the following question:

How can we understand and improve the interplay between science and society, and improve science policies for the future?

On the basis of the debate and answers, a results document will be created in which the potentially diverging views of different groups will be shown and analyzed.  This document will be distributed among media and key decision makers.

The symposium will take place on the University of Ottawa campus during National Science and Technology Week, from October 21 to 23, 2013.  The event is a collaboration between Situating Science Strategic Knowledge Cluster ( and Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa (ISSP) (

The following organizations are current supporters:

The symposium will aim to demonstrate that collaboration among academics, students, policy makers, stakeholders and the public at large can lead to new insights, new perspectives, and a deeper understanding of the social implications of science and technology. 

Attendees / Audience:

The organizers expect approximately 60 participants at the event during the day, with a much larger audience at the public sessions.

The Need for and Significance of the Symposium:

Scholars, scientists, students, public servants and the general public are concerned about the relationship between science and society.  There is a need to bring these groups together to discuss this relationship and the various issues associated with it – such as citizens’ science, innovation, and the need for evidence-based public policy.  This symposium fills that need.

The symposium is significant because these various groups are seldom brought together to discuss science and society and the issues at the science-society interface.  The symposium is also significant because participants will work towards producing a public document, published by the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, summarizing the key challenges at the science-society interface and how to address them.  This document will be distributed among media and key decision makers.

Expected Outcomes and Results:

The conference will produce the following outcomes:

  • A results document, published by the ISSP, summarizing key insights regarding science and society for distribution among media and key decision makers;
  • New media and political interest, in particular with respect to key issues (e.g. evidence-based decision making, the importance of science in a democratic society);
  • New thinking and debate among scholars, policymakers, scientists, students and the public;
  • New inter-disciplinary networks;
  • Dissemination of conference content in print and/or www formats and/or video/podcast/live streaming.
  • Student training and engagement

Stay tuned for more information