TSPN would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out to attend our Evidence To Policy 101 Workshop on Thursday 27th February 2020. We had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Chelsea Rochman — an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department.
We would also like to acknowledge the generous funding support that we received from the You’re Next Career Network and the University of Toronto Engineering Alumni Association.
Following an introduction from TSPN executive Dawn Bannerman, Dr. Rochman walked attendees through different ways to connect science to policy, where she drew upon examples from her own science policy experience.
As per Dr. Rochman, ways to connect science to policy include participating in or writing:
- Opinion pieces e.g. her 2013 Nature Comment, titled “Classify plastic waste as hazardous” or her 2015 Viewpoint in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, titled “Scientific Evidence Supports a Ban on Microbeads”
- Media — including interviews or writing for The Conversation Canada
- Policy briefs
- Expert witness testimony
- Expert working groups
- Science advisory boards
Dr. Rochman also pointed out that you can create your own platform, like she did with the UofT Trash Team, which uses a combination of community outreach, school programs and solutions-based research to increase waste literacy and decrease waste in the local community.
During the workshop, Dr. Rochman challenged all workshop attendees to prepare a short expert witness testimony, including the following critical components: a greeting, an introduction (stressing credibility), three key messages and a strong ending. Dr. Rochman emphasised that avoiding jargon is key, and to meet people where they are — use symbolism or analogies relevant to the context or region you are speaking at. Workshop attendees then practice their expert witness testimony in pairs.
The Toronto Science Policy Network (TSPN) aims to provide a platform for students (graduate and undergraduate), as well as post-doctoral researchers, to learn more about and engage in science policy. Sign up for our mailing list to stay in the loop about TSPN’s upcoming events. Read about our previous events on our Medium page here.