Change is in the air.
This fall, the STEM community gathered in a variety of ways. If you attended one of the many events, perhaps you too noticed renewed energy in discussions around the value and importance of STEM and a commitment to equity and inclusion. So many of our conversations and keynotes shared similar messages: today we need science and evidence-based decisions more than ever. This sentiment was shared by people who also champion equity and diversity – our science minister Kirsty Duncan, the new Governor General Julie Payette and the recently named Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer.
Fall is a season of change, when Canadians prepare for shorter days and colder weather. It’s also a time when many of STAN’s member sectors gather. Teacher conferences such as the AESTQ, BCSCTA and STAO took place. Science communication organizations like ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centres) and SWCC (Science Writers’ and Communicators of Canada) also gathered. Some meetings were very cross-sectoral such as the CSPC (Canadian Science Policy Conference) or the Gender Summit North America. The CSPC was well attended and some sessions included all delegates. One panel featured a number of contributors to the Fundamental Science Review (FSR), otherwise known as the Naylor Report. This report has triggered a lot of conversation and has the potential to transform Canada’s approach to innovation. This panel spoke about progress to date and what challenges might be ahead. Recommendations from the FSR could result not only by increasing research and innovation but could create a parallel need for increased science communication and education – and STAN will monitor this. The future could be a time when collaboration, partnership and networking are even more important to help the science and technology awareness community work together to meet these challenges.
You could find STAN members at each of these, as our membership is very cross-sectoral. Connecting people and organizations who share common interests and objectives is one of STAN’s strengths. STAN is a catalyst; we bring people together to create collaboration, cooperation and communication. In fact we’re working on new ways to enhance STAN member connections – which you’ll hear more about in the coming months.
By now you’ve hopefully heard the good news – the STAN Conference is being combined with the SWCC conference next April in Vancouver. Stay tuned as details are shared. If you didn’t receive our announcement newsletter, be sure to join STAN to be among the first to hear of new developments. In the meantime, consider attending our conference and identifying ways we can work together to foster a vibrant STEM culture in Canada.
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