Royal Military College faculty member Captain Matt McTaggart shared his experience leading Canada’s first Science meets Parliament event in a panel discussion during 14-17 of February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
The session was hosted by Science and Technology Australia (STA), that nation’s peak body in science and technology, representing the work of the sector and its 70,000 members to government, industry, and the public.
STA’s CEO and Chair of Australian National Commission for UNESCO Ms. Kylie Walker opened the discussion by presenting the impact of training more than 4000 scientists over two decades of Science meets Parliament and related programs. Ms. Walker was joined by Professor Emma Johnston, AO, STA President and Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales, who shared her personal journey from research to international science advocacy.
Captain McTaggart offered the audience lessons learned while adapting Australia’s successful event to the Canadian context. This RMC-supported initiative brought 30 of Canada’s brightest researchers to Ottawa for two days of communications and policy training, topical discussion, and connecting with federal Parliamentarians.
“Canada held the first Science meets Parliament outside of Australia, and my conversations this week prove to me that the international community is keen to learn from our experience,” Captain McTaggart said. “I’m proud of Canada’s leadership in what is quickly becoming a global effort to nurture relationships between scientists and policymakers at all levels.” The European Commission has already followed suit, holding their own version earlier this month, and more countries have announcements planned for the near future.
The annual AAAS meeting is the largest of its kind, attracting scientific and political leaders from around the world. Canada’s Science meets Parliament is presented in partnership with the Canadian Science Policy Centre and Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer. Applications for Canada’s second Science meets Parliament will open later this year.