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CANCELLED--BRI Lecture: Defending Scientific Integrity in a Post-Truth Era
WhenMonday, Sep 10, 2018, 4 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationMagnuson Health Sciences Center A (HSA)
Campus roomHogness Auditorium, A420 HSB
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSchool of Medicine, Bioethics & Humanities
Biomedical Research Integrity Program
Target Audienceresearch trainees, graduate students, post-docs, fellows, faculty, staff

Defending Scientific Integrity in a Post-Truth Era: Lessons from Canada’s ‘War on Science’

Wendy Palen, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Simon Frasier University

PHS topic: conflict of interest

A decade ago, Canada was in the grip of a conservative government with few checks or balances. Under then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada’s federal scientists suffered systematic attacks on their ability to conduct and disseminate their findings without censorship or political interference. Scientists were prevented from speaking to the media about their work and allowed to attend conferences only when accompanied by government ‘minders’. Renowned research facilities were closed or defunded, especially when their missions conflicted with political priorities, and Canada’s marquee environmental laws were gutted to benefit powerful private industries. Sound familiar? Rather than causing scientists to shrink from public discussions, these abuses were the catalyst for a remarkable public campaign to defend scientific integrity resulting in the 2015 election of a center-left Liberal government. Three years later, while there is more work ahead, there is much to celebrate regarding improved protections for government scientists, and revisions to major pieces of legislation. Commitments to restore scientific integrity and increase transparency offer hope for meaningful reform through improved public debate, even where governmental leadership is lacking.

Dr. Palen’s Op-Ed contribution to the NYTimes:

UW School of Public Health & College of the Environment deans’ letter to the EPA:

[This lecture is part of the BRI Program, responsible conduct in research training, required by NIH. Coffee will be available prior to the lecture (3:30-3:55pm). Late admittance to lecture is not allowed.]…
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