Programme at a glance
|9:00 – 9:30||Welcoming and registration|
|9:30 – 10:00||Opening Lecture on Transdisciplinary Research, by Laura Colucci-Gray, University of Edinburgh & BRIDGES project|
|10.00 – 11:00||Panel discussion with representative of CEST, CNR, and Elsevier|
|10.00 – 11:00||Break|
|11.30 – 13.00||Session 1 – Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in Academia|
|13.00 – 14.30||Break|
|14.30 – 16.00||Workshop 1 – Diversity and Inclusion in Academia|
|16.00 – 16.30||Break|
|16.30 – 18.00||Workshop 2 – Reading Ourselves Reading Gender|
|19.00 – 21.30||Social Activity 1 “On Feminist Practices”|
The existence of disparities based on gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity in academia is known and it has been extensively studied. A wage gap between white men and women as well as members of ethnic minority groups has been documented across countries and settings, but it is the overall progression of academic careers that is impacted, as women and black faculty are significantly associated with lower academic ranks. The situation is even worse in case of ‘intersectional’ discrimination, since black women are held back from advancements and experience racial stereotyping, with the result of an overall lack of black female professors especially in the European setting. As far as LGBTQI+ academics are concerned, discrimination is still an issue, without considering that many still feel the pressure to stay in the closet to progress in their careers. While there may certainly be economic reasons to strive to close the gender gap or to promote effective desegregation in academia, it is the whole quality of scientific production which is necessarily affected in this scenario. In fact, the horizon of expectations about research outcomes and methodological ‘standards’ remain in this way exclusively shaped by white heterosexual male subjectivities and their normative conceptions, with a subsequent marginalization of other methodological approaches which might be discredited as non-scientific, absent a full epistemological conformity with the ‘norm’. Having as a background these questions of wage gap and epistemic injustice, this panel aims at debating the precarity that women, sexual minorities and non-white subjectivities experience in academic environments and careers and at discussing both possible successful practices and structural changes that the academic system should undergo in order to improve the current situation.
Chair: Carla Sciarra, Research Fellow in Environmental Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin & Member of CEST
Sarah R. Davies, Professor of Technosciences, Materiality, & Digital Cultures at the University of Wien
Sara Moraca, Science journalist; PhD Candidate in Climate Change communication at the University of Bologna
Emanuele Menietti, Journalist at Il Post
In recent years, science communication has become a key challenge for researchers and academics; increasing demands to communicate more and better, at all career stages, are coming to scientists from diverse institutions and for multiple reasons. Research funding bodies link the provision of funds to the implementation of communication plans. Against the perception of an increasing skepticism for science, many ask scientists to improve their communication of key findings of scientific research to the public, in order to build trust in scientific results. Other social actors, conversely, criticize scientists for their different public declarations, and accuse them of stepping out from their field.
Science issues are more and more at the core of social, political and economic developments, while a debate on the development of a scientific citizenship, fully able to create room for an open dialogue on research directions, appears to lag. Communication has a fundamental role in shaping the public perception of science, possibly contributing to a higher democratization of knowledge and, hence, to a higher quality of public engagement and debate, or on the contrary leading to harsh polarizations.
Indeed, on the one hand, researchers’ ability to explain their work and its relevance influences the quality of public debate, influencing crucial political choices, as well as the amount of external funding received. On the other hand, it is increasingly salient to find ways through which social needs can be accounted for when designing the research agenda.
In this panel, we aim at answering some ‘how’ questions to foster the paradigm-change necessary to bridge science and society, creating a discussion table involving actors from different backgrounds: academic and non-academic science journalism, science communication, early career scientists engaging in communicating science.
Francesco Gobbo: Postdoctoral research fellow in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh
Raffaele Sarnataro: DPhil student in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford & Member of CEST
Denise Cai, Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
Catriona MacCallum, Director of Open Science at Hindawi Limited, London
Federica Rosetta, Vice President, Academic & Research Relations, Europe, Elsevier, Amsterdam
Open Access and Open Science, which refer respectively to free availability of publications and research resources, encourage better scrutiny of research, in terms of accessibility, transparency, and accountability, ensure the validity of investments in research and mark a stand against publication bias, credibility inflation, and lack of reproducibility.
Funding bodies, research institutes and universities, novel publishing formats, increased awareness in the relevant communities and movement advocacies are currently driving major changes in the policies regarding Open Access and Open Science.
Recently, a lot of attention has been put on the use of pre-prints and the pre-publication distribution of research output. In addition, Open platforms in Science are becoming increasingly popular and effectively instrumental to research.
How such simultaneous ongoing changes are impacting on the structure of the scholarly communication and research system and on the evaluation and dissemination of research is still a matter of debate.
In this section, we will discuss the principles of Open Science from the perspective of both the research community and the publishers, and the hands-on workshop will provide a tangible experience of reproducible research, by using open source programmes to analyse open science datasets available from an open access journal.
Chair: Stella Gianfreda, Researcher at the University of Genova & Member of CEST
Claudio Colaiacomo, Vice President Global Academic Relations at Elsevier
Francesca Peruzzo, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Education, University of Birmingham
Inge van der Weijden, Senior Researcher, Center for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Leiden
A recent survey conducted on more than 4,000 researchers in the UK reveals that 80% of them believe that competition in academia has increased, worsening working conditions and contributing to the isolation of researchers. 50% of respondents say they struggle with depression, anxiety or sleeping problems daily. Nearly two-thirds reported seeing bullying or harassment, and 43% said they experienced it.
Until recently, academia was considered a privileged work environment, with high salaries, good social protection and a low workload. However, the combined effect of the democratization of education and neo-liberalisation of academia has increased international competition among scholars. Academics need to contend with increasingly scarce resources and come to terms with existential instability and low-term horizons. Besides, the adoption of narrow criteria and indicators of research quality and impact create unsustainable pressure on researchers. The restrictive measures put in place to counter the Covid-19 pandemic have further aggravated the conditions of research. PhD students and young researchers had to deal with inaccessible laboratories and libraries, with the difficulty of collecting data and conducting field research, and sometimes even with the interruption of grants and research funds.The panel aims to reflect on structural and individual drivers of mental health issues and on the available policy instruments to decrease career stress and increase well-being in academia.
Daniela Arlia, Researcher at the Aix-Marseille School of Economics & Board Member of CEST
Alessandro Allegra, Policy Officer at the European Commission Science Advice Mechanism
Teresa Branch-Smith, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS and member of EU Horizon 2020 PERITIA project
Roger Pielke Jr., Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado Boulder
Heather Douglas, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University
Science and technology are commonly taken as drivers of social change; at the same time, progresses in knowledge and science are a product of social change and of specific political choices. Moreover, but less commonly, they are acknowledged to be a tool for politics.
Science’s achievements over the past four centuries have been based on the fact that intellectuals have largely fallen out of the habit of thinking that there is anything political about science, either as a domain where politics happens or as a subject that is influenced by politics and by personal political and ethical views. The word influence in the world of science has mainly a negative meaning, linked to corruption and to lack of credibility. Indeed, by definition, science is the sphere of incontestable knowledge and, given its nature, it has been thought to be divorced from politics, which is instead personal and contestable, by far.
The interlinks between ethics, politics, and science are, however, multiple and complex, posing new challenges for young researchers, such as:
- How to make scientists and researchers deal with the fact that there exists an ethical and political bias in doing research?
- How do we make politics talking about science, technology, and knowledge in a scientific and informed way?
The aim of the panel is to debate possible answers to these challenging questions.
Alba L’Astorina, Technologist at the Institute for Remote Sensing of the Environment – National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IREA) & Coordinator of the BRIDGES project
Giuseppe Aprile, Research Student at EHESS & Member of CEST
Gloria Origgi, Research Director at the Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS Paris
Virginia Magnaghi, PhD candidate in Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore
Adriana Valente, Research Director at the National Research Council of Italy (CNR)
Jay Pocklington, Manager of the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s Young Scholars Initiative (YSI)
Federica Rosetta, Vice President, Academic & Research Relations, Europe, Elsevier, Amsterdam
Workshops and Social Activities
led by Michiel KolmanSenior Vice President, Research Networks & Academic Ambassador, Elsevier.
After a discussion of the landscape of Diversity and Inclusion in the world of research and Academia, participants will be involved in a series of activities to confront them with common biases that shape our behaviour and that easily go undetected.
led by Joy Ladin, Professor of English Literature at Yeshiva University
Anchoring our discussion in a short literary example – Robert Frost’s “Home Burial,” which dramatizes a bitter argument between a man and a woman about how to mourn the child they lost – we will explore how our implicit assumptions about gender roles affect the way we understand narratives and situations, and how we judge those involved in them. No prior literary background is required; we will be using the poem as a test case through which to develop our understanding of how gender affects interpretation.
led by Sarah R. Davies and Rita Giuffredi (CNR)
What are some of the starting points for thinking about and engaging in public communication of our research? In this workshop we will work together to discuss the formats and purposes of science communication, putting public communication into its wider societal context and reflecting on what we want the outcomes of our communication to be. While we will start with some ‘big picture’ questions – such as why science communication is important to democracy – we will close by sharing and discussing some more practical advice, drawing, in particular, on results from the European project QUEST (Quality and Effectiveness in Science Communication).
led by Verena Heise, Freelance Open Science consultant, Francesco Gobbo and Raffaele Sarnataro
A crucial aspect of open science is original data access for re-analysis and inclusion for comparative studies. In this workshop, we will introduce basic concepts of open science and reproducibility and put them into practice by adopting a hands-on approach: we will take a case-in-study open access research paper as an example to go through open science features in practice and examine how the relevant data can be accessed and re-analysed to reproduce some key aspects of the study. Taking a fun and engaging approach, this workshop will guide you to see open science in action!
Participation in Session 3 is suggested but not strictly required for this workshop.
led by Aline Giordano, Gestalt-oriented Organisational Practitioner and Coach
Note: There is a limit of 10 attendees maximum
The potency of ‘Writing for Wellbeing’ lies in its approach: a facilitated process that allows for openness, play, boundary exploration, experimentation, and connecting with one another. The field of ‘Writing for wellbeing’, also known as ‘Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes’ (CWTP), is broad-ranging in its theoretical underpinning, as well as context and practice. The workshop is a space to pause and write for yourself in order to reconnect with the essentials of life: your wellbeing. A typical 90-minute group workshop starts with a check-in and establishing a working alliance. It then progresses to short writing exercises (up to five minute each), and a sharing of experience. The workshop follows a process that places strong emphasis on establishing a collaborative environment, allowing for respectful and heartfelt exchanges among participants. Writing for wellbeing harnesses the power of simple words, your words, for personal insight, and can act as a springboard for personal growth.
led by Nina Gordon, Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe – AEGEE, also known as “European Students forum”).
While the scientific viewpoint on work design is as human-centred as ever before, working conditions of young researchers are developing to become increasingly precarious. Psychological research has identified objective requirements regarding working conditions which can minimize employees’ strain and associated health damage. After taking a closer look at these requirements, the workshop will give space to discuss personal experiences with problematic and beneficial working conditions and develop practical ideas for improvement. Following a holistic approach, both institutional factors of influence as well as individual resources of mental health will be taken into consideration.
led by Rachel Martin, Access and Policy Communications Manager at Elsevier
and with interventions by:
Silvia Sirioni, Education and Science Communication Manager at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich (online)
Lewis Collins, Editor-in-Chief at One Earth (online)
Following on from the Panel Discussion on Ethics, Science and Politics, this workshop will focus on how science and technology, as drivers of social change, can accelerate action needed to address the climate crisis. Over the past 40 years, the contribution to the scientific knowledge has greatly advanced our understanding of climate change, yet our society has failed to act. How can science and research better inform policy making and society? Part of the role of researchers is to provide a balanced and comprehensive digest of the scientific literature to policymakers. Conversely, policy debates on climate action would benefit from policymakers and the public at large having a firmer grasp of basic scientific concepts, such as confidence intervals and the degree of scientific uncertainty. This workshop will focus on establishing a set of recommendations to help strengthen the bridge between science and policy.
After a short introduction and presentation by the speakers, the attendees are invited to reflect on the presentations. Small groups will be created to address potential challenges in strengthening the bridge between policy and sciences, using climate change as an example. Working groups will come out with some solutions to report back and to discuss together.
led by Nicole Parker, Director of U.S. Outreach at The Journal of Science Policy & Governance (JSPG)
Translating advancements in scientific knowledge into policy decisions is as needed as challenging. Early career researchers specifically may lack training opportunities to foster the impact of their research. This hands-on workshop will foster dialogues on how the next generation of researchers can influence society with their science, and equip early career scholars with skills needed to write effective and impactful policy memos for this purpose.
with Renata Pepicelli and Charlotte Bez, representatives of the group “Femminismi”, Pisa
Venue: Il Giardino Blu, Via Teodosio 19, Milan
Activity: Based on the experience of Feminist Collectives in Academia as they have been collected in the issue Spaccademia of the Feminist Review DWF (Donna Woman Femme) the workshop aims at setting up a dialogue between representatives of the collectives and the participants in other to make them familiar with the practices one can resort to in academic settings.
with Juan Antonio Moreno Jurado, Junior Project Manager at Concordia & Freelance researcher at EST (European Student Think Tank)
Format: World Café
Venue: il Giardino Blu, Via Teodosio 19, Milan
Activity: Starting from the experience of the European Student Think Tank and through an active engagement of the participants, this informal meeting aims at sharing ideas and best practices on how to empower young people – in academia and beyond – to start their career in the 21st century.