Opportunities for Action at NSPN's National Science Policy Symposium

This November, NSPN is hosting the 3rd annual National Science Policy Symposium - this time in a virtual format. On November 13th and 14th, participants will explore this year’s theme, Science Policy for Racial Justice. The Symposium aims to address many of the ways in which both science and policy have historically failed to include minority voices and the ways in which science policy can be leveraged for a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

In addition to keynote remarks by Drs. Gilda Barabino, Ruha Benjamin, and Sudip Parikh, this year’s Symposium will feature panels, workshops, and a new opportunity, Flash Talks, for attendees to showcase their science policy, advocacy or diplomacy work:

The panels, organized and moderated by teams of NSPN members, cover a variety of topics from creating racial equity in food systems, to the history of racism in science, to pathways for dismantling systemic barriers in graduate education. You can learn more about the panel topics, schedule, and confirmed speakers here. Participants can engage in informative conversations with our panelists that shed light on critical issues in science policy and/or call attendees to action.

One exciting panel to look forward to is Systemic Barriers in Equity and Access to Technology. “We are already aware that systemic racism has impacted the usage and dissemination of technological resources,” says Paige Greenwood, one of the organizers. “But what excites me is that the speakers will also introduce strategies and policies that could be implemented to address racial biases in technology. We need actionable items to dismantle a system that is intended to oppress Black and Brown communities.”

Another panel that takes a global perspective is Recentering International Narratives: Examining the intersections of science diplomacy, inclusion, and discovery. “I hope people will learn new questions to ask themselves and their community as they continue to engage with science on a global front,” says co-organizer Lyndsey Gray. “Specifically, I hope that the audience walks away wondering, ‘Do I believe science can be used as a way to bridge cross-cultural divides, and address historical and current iniquities between nations? If not, then what does science diplomacy need to evolve into? If yes, what role should I play?’”

The Symposium workshops aim to train attendees to advance racial justice and support the development of attendees’ science policy, advocacy, and professional skills. “Workshops are my favorite part of the annual symposium because they offer an opportunity for partner organizations to showcase their work and support skills development of our Members,” says NSPN Director of Partnerships Holly Mayton. “This year is no exception. We will be offering nine unique workshops with topics that range from recognizing unconscious bias in policy making, to effective informal informational interviewing, to advocating for change within academic institutions”. These interactive 45-minute sessions will be repeated up to three times throughout the weekend to reach as many people as possible. Workshop registration will open at 12pm ET Monday, October 26th. In the meantime you can read more about all of the workshops on our website.

The new Flash Talks session seeks to showcase the amazing work our participants already do - in a unique format that distinguishes itself from a traditional poster session. “We want to provide an opportunity for folks to highlight their work in a bitesize format and encourage conversation between Flash Talk participants and the community.” Registrants will pre-record a submission up to 5-minutes long discussing their work. All recordings will be publicly available through NSPN's social channels a week prior to the Symposium. During the event, participants will join a live session where they can engage in Q&A about their work with other attendees. In addition, the top three flash talks will be awarded cash prizes in recognition of their work! 

If you are as excited about this year’s symposium as we are, register here! For more information about specific sessions and speakers, check out our website. And to get any questions answered, reach out to symposium@scipolnetwork.org.

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