ESOF 2018

Sense about Science will be at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2018 in Toulouse. We are running discussion sessions on big data and accountability, clinical trial transparency, and on helping early career researchers engage with policymakers.

If you will be at ESOF please do join us at these sessions and if you would like to work with us on one of these topics, get in touch here so we can be sure to meet for a coffee and a chat.

Our sessions:

Openness about trial results: lessons for companies on the front-line
Big data and the future of democracy: How can people hold analytics and algorithms to account?
Get your voice heard on public policy: how early career researchers can engage with policymakers

Sessions Sense about Science colleagues have been invited to speak at:

How to lobby for science, 10 July 2018 at 15:15-16:30 – Sofie Vanthournout
Enthuse – Engage – Enlighten: Making facts great again, 11 July 2018 at 17:00-18:15 – Sofie Vanthournout
Responsible Science Communication for better informed citizens, 11 July 2018 at 17:00-18:15 – Síle Lane

 

Openness about trial results: lessons for companies on the front-line

When? 

12 July 2018, 08:45 – 10:00

What? 

Results from around half of all clinical trials remain hidden. The WHO, UN and the global AllTrials campaign of 730 organisations have called on all organisations in all jurisdictions to share results from clinical trials. Legislation and regulations coming on-stream mean that in the future it will be more difficult to keep results hidden. But data from historical trials is not covered by these laws. We are against the clock as information from old trials is at risk of being lost forever as researchers retire, research groups shut-down and software becomes obsolete. The effective registration and reporting of clinical trials cuts across national boundaries as well as those between researchers, companies and policymakers. Those global bodies who have the resources to progress thinking and to put in place initiatives to share results have a responsibility to share that progress with those who are less able to move forward. A small number of pharmaceutical companies have begun to implement procedures, policies and infrastructures to make this happen. In 2017, the AllTrials campaign published the first ever audit of the 50 largest global companies’ policies on sharing clinical trial results. This means we have identified best practice in clinical trial results sharing by industry. The forward thinkers in industry who have adopted this will share what they learnt so others can adapt and adopt these practices. This roundtable session will let industry colleagues share experiences battling inertia to make change happen, and will include discussion of what regulators and legislators can do to encourage reform.

Who?

Tracey BROWN – Sense about Science (SAS), Andrew FREEMAN – GlaxoSmithKline, Kim KJOELLER – LEO Pharma, Sile LANE – Sense about Science.

 

Big data and the future of democracy: How can people hold analytics and algorithms to account?

Coorganised with the Joint Research Centre

When?

12 July 2018, 10:15 – 11:30

What?

Our smartphones and tablets track our movements. Everything we ‘like’ or ‘follow’ on social media is registered and stored, giving more power than ever before to target messages and categorise our behaviour. The use of social media in the Brexit referendum and the American presidential elections raised many questions about the role of big data analysis in shaping public opinion. But big data analysis also promises to help us with social challenges from assessing the path of the next pandemic, to predicting which cars on the road are likely to be uninsured. So how can we maximise the opportunities of big data analytics and avoid their unintended consequences? What can we, as citizens, researchers and organisations do to set and achieve scientific and ethical standards? Do we need rules for political campaigns? And what can we do to push for public benefits from advances in data analytics? This session will begin by presenting some of the science behind targeting, and whats technically possible beyond the hype. The panel will explore the legal and ethical dimensions of the technology and its wider applications in society. It will show how political parties use social media to campaign, and how citizens use social networks to influence political outcomes, especially during elections. We will look more broadly at what people in research, publication and policy are doing to ensure quality in big data analysis across all areas. How do we equip people to hold big data to account? What standards are needed? And what do people decision makers, the public and journalists – need to know in order to interrogate big data and increase confidence in big data research?

Who?

Michael BOSSETTA – University of Copenhagen, Tracey BROWN – Sense about Science (SAS), Anita DE WAARD – Elsevier Research Data Services, Catherine FIESCHI – Counterpoint, Nina KAJANDER – European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Ian VOLLBRACHT – European Commission – Joint Research Centre

 

Get your voice heard on public policy: how early career researchers can engage with policymakers

Coorganised with Freie Universität Berlin

When?

13 July 2018, 13:30 – 14:45

What?

All researchers – not just those at the top of their careers – should have the opportunity to engage with policymakers about their work, whether raising awareness of their research among politicians and civil servants or collaborating with think tanks. It is a direct way to increase the impact of research, not to mention that most of us would like to see more policy based in evidence. So what are the challenges to making it happen? This session will explore the practical considerations, such as the support and preparation early career researchers (ECRs) get from research institutions to reach out to policymakers, the various types of policy makers that ECRs should target and the routes into making contact with them. The session will also address the political considerations: how should ECRs understand and respond to the legitimate policy balance between facts and values? How can ECRs responsibly communicate the status of findings where there is scientific uncertainty? And how can ECRs respond to the need for policy decisions in areas where there is a lack of good evidence? Through a combination of short presentations by experts with on the ground experience of the policy world plus lively Q&A and discussion, attendees will come away with a nuanced understanding of how effectively to spread science knowledge among policy makers, to encourage evidenced-based policy and to use these insights as they develop their careers.

Who?

Norma BETHKE – Freie Universität Berlin, Pearl DYKSTRA – European Commission Scientific Advice Mechanism, David MAIR – European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Claudia SIEGEL – EU Liaison Office of Freie Universität Berlin in Brussels, Sofie VANTHOURNOUT – Sense about Science (SAS)