Just the Facts or Fool's Gold: Trust and Uncertainty at the Science-Policy Interface

Presented in partnership with the Faculty of Agriculture and the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University.

Scientists, academics and medical doctors are among the most trusted people in our society. This trust has been particularly relevant during the pandemic when politicians leaned heavily on chief medical officers and researchers from a variety of disciplines for policy advice.

Yet as the end of the pandemic nears, trust in science has taken a hit. The TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard has recently commented that a number of factors have undermined public trust in science, including the rapid evolution of COVID-19 science, mixed messaging from leaders, political interference, competing ideologies and interpretations and a torrent of misinformation.

The purpose of this April Fools Day panel is to explore the mystery and discipline at the science-policy interface. We are particularly interested in how scientists present research, identify uncertainty, provide advice and communicate with policy makers and the media. What is the appropriate role for scientists and universities when we are confronted with consequential risks with high levels of complexity and uncertainty? What role does civil society play in ensuring the integrity of the research community and their work?​

The panel will include:​

    Lisa Barrett - Infectious Diseases Physician and Researcher at Dalhousie University

    Stefanie Colombo, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Aquaculture Nutrition

    Katherine Fierlbeck (moderator), Political Science Professor at Dalhousie University

    Bernie Miller, Nova Scotia Deputy Minister of the Office of Strategy Management 

    André Picard, Health Reporter and Columnist for The Globe and Mail

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