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NU Science Advocacy Group

Modified: February 14, 2017

In recent months, support for scientific inquiry and communication of results to the public have experienced an increased and frightening pushback from politicians and from the general public. Scientists are constantly working up against a troubling trend: what someone wishes to be true increasingly viewed as more important than what is actually true. This has become especially evident in recent events when our country’s leadership unexpectedly (but temporarily) froze funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and silenced portions of the agency’s online presence, particularly where it related to the overwhelming evidence supporting climate change. Similar political and cultural movements exist that attempt to discredit the use of vaccines and deemphasize the effects of industrial processes on our environment among others.

Regular meetings will be held here at Northwestern to discuss our role as scientists in these challenging times.

Three core areas will be explored by the group as these meetings progress into the future:

1) Brainstorming and implementing efforts to engage the public in real ways (e.g. topic-focused meetings with the public at various venues).

2) Presentations within the group so that we can educate each other on how to effectively use evidence-based arguments for certain popular topics such as GMOs and climate change. 

3) Presentations on newly published research that has elevated societal significance both internally to educate each other and at public meetings to dispel misinterpretations and fear among laypeople.

Inaugural Meeting: How do we best engage the public to advocate for policy based on evidence?” will be held this coming Tuesday (2-14-17) in Silverman Hall Room 2-510 at 2pm. All are welcome.

Attendants are encouraged to bring a suggestion of how to better engage family, neighbors, large or small groups of people, fellow scientists, the general public, or politicians. If you have organized suggestions that call for the use of slides, please contact mullowney@northwestern.edu prior to the event so these can be added to the slide deck. Contributions may focus on any related topic desired, speak in general terms, or may even argue against our role in this process.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, Social Sciences, Around Campus