1st Conference on Social Impact of Science

The Scientists Dating Forum led two seminars on misread press releases and bottom-up movements at the 1st Conference on Social Impact of Science

On 25-29th July 2016 the 1st Conference on Social Impact of Science (SIS2016) was held in Barcelona. Our team didn´t want to miss the opportunity to meet other scientists with some of our concerns and to learn how their research influences people and which strategies they use to reach society.

Attending this conference was important for us, but getting involved and accepting challenges is more our style. The Scientists Dating Forum (SciDF) sent two abstracts for Brown Bag Seminar sessions, one about bottom-up movements and the other on the consequences of misleading headlines in science news. Both were accepted. The Brown Bag Seminar informal session format during lunch-time allowed us to lead 1-hour seminars which were enriching for attendees and us.

This 5-day conference focused on a different scientific field each day, giving visibility to all sort of research and enhancing interdisciplinary discussions.

Natural Sciences, Physics & Mathematics was Monday’s topic. François Englert, Nobel Prize in Physics 2013, was the keynote speaker of the day. He could not come because of health issues; however, an interview to him was recorded and played especially for the conference.

Social Sciences & Humanities were the scientific fields of Tuesday, including our brown bag seminar on bottom-up movements.

Wednesday focused on Engineering Information & Technology, but also covered other topics as the role of evaluation and funding agencies in promoting social impact. It was clear that to get funding nowadays a good scientific outcome alone is not enough, research must have a real impact on citizens.

Thursday’s field was Life Sciences. Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009, introduced us into her research on ribosome structure and how it could help combating antibiotic resistance—an important threat nowadays! She also participated in the afternoon sessions about gender relations in science.

On Friday the conference was about Health & Pharmacy. Our seminar on misread press releases in health science was scheduled for this day. Harald zur Hausen, Nobel Prize in Medicine 2008, gave the closing key-note speech. He was really close to the audience when answering the questions that arose during his speech. He also stated that although his research links cancer development to ingestion of certain virus-infected animal food, he is not vegetarian and enjoys a good steak every now and then.

The SIS2016 conference highlighted the need to make science more accessible to citizens for a better understanding of what researchers can do for society. Science needs to reach more and more diverse learners, without excluding minorities, because effective dissemination and social benefits of research have become essential now that we are recovering the sense of Science. Scientists should indeed date more often with society…

Clara Cosgaya
Òscar Aznar Alemany