The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role of science in our ability to live healthy and productive lives. Beyond practical solutions, science can unlock the imagination, empower communities, and bring hope. At the same time, as more people are embracing the important role of science in society, it continues to be perceived as mysterious, difficult and uncertain. The majority of the public does not have a solid understanding of the scientific method, or the idea that science does not always deal with established fact and can be quite messy. Furthermore, any perceived, and sometimes real, conflicts of interest between science, business and politics can irrevocably erode public trust.
As the world battles COVID-19, we must also look to the future when we will need to harness scientific innovation to solve other critical challenges including food and water scarcity, climate change, and other novel pathogens. How do we ensure that the public will understand and support these efforts? Could solutions include increased investment in science literacy? What do scientists need to do to earn trust, and how does the scientific community deal with those who blatantly violate public trust? What is the relationship between science and policy, and what needs to happen to ensure science-based policies are implemented appropriately?
Join this panel of policy makers, scientists and journalists as they tackle these challenging questions and propose solutions to continue to drive public understanding and support for science.