Over 300 delegates from around the world attended the Network for Adavancing and Evaluating the Societal Impact of Science (AESIS) Conference in Ottawa on June 14-15, 2018. The focus of the conference was ‘Finding shared approaches to assess, enable and accelerate impact on society’. The AESIS Network is an international, open community for various types of professionals working on stimulating and demonstrating the impact of science on economy, culture and well-being. The conference brought together scientists, policy makers and funders from several European countries and from across Canada including the three federal research councils, as well as Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer. The co-creation of knowledge with society was mentioned in several plenary presentations as a critical component of advancing impact from science research.
Dr. Crystal Tremblay spoke at the Community Engagement session on behalf of the UNESCO Chair in CBR, sharing insights on global trends in CBR and higher education, impact evaluation and introduced the Knowledge for Change (K4C) initiative. Dr. Richard Gordan, from Land Care Trust New Zealand demonstrated the significant value of working with Maori communities in research, within the context of enhanced land use planning, co-governance and conservation. A major take-away from the session is that universities do not hold a monopoly on knowledge and that knowledge is enhanced when co-created in partnership with community. This requires that scientific knowledge be accessible, and that relationships are built on trust and humility.