Trust in science and technology starts with conversations

Thursday, September 14, 2023

In the first event for the Trust in Research Undertaken in Science and Technology Scholarly Network (TRuST), Dean Mary Wells and a distinguished panel of experts, delved into the various challenges researchers and practitioners across disciplines face in building trust with the public.

The evening event, Conversations on Trust in Science and Technology Lecture Series on Tuesday, September 12, centred on how as society faces crises like shifting geopolitical tensions, climate change and a strained health care system, it's vital to build public trust in research and the scientists who produce it.

The audience engaged with the panel of Wells, Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland and Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher for an hour of question and answer to discuss key areas where science hasn’t delivered what it had promised or even produced harmful outcomes and if the pursuit of science had been worth it.

Wells acknowledged that leaders in academia, like herself, need to play a role and focus education on advancing trust in science.

“The focus should be on educating engineers, designers and scientists to not only create technology but also consider the ethical dimensions, intended and unintended consequences, and the impact on human interactions and lives,” she said. “The goal is to embed trust in technology by broadening the perspective of those developing it, ensuring they think beyond technical functionality.”

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