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Published 6 April 2017

Looking to the future, sharing knowledge

Reaching people with trustworthy evidence based information is a challenge we need to address says Royal Society Te Apārangi President, Richard Bedford on the launch of their 150th Anniversary International Symposium in Wellington today.

In a time when information can be disseminated instantaneously on the internet many people are choosing to access only that information that aligns with their beliefs rather than allowing themselves to be challenged by other ideas and arguments. 

“Our celebration of 150 years is marked with recognition of some great achievements. It is a time for both reflection and revitalization. 

“One of the most important challenges facing us today is reaching people with evidence-based information that will be of value to them, while showing understanding and respect for their beliefs and values.  We need to do much more to reach people who are turning away from true experts, to listen only to their favoured perspectives,” says Professor Bedford.

To reach people, you also need to show you can represent their communities, remove barriers of the past and promote diverse futures.

“We also need to recognize and promote the research excellence and achievements of scholars who are women.  Barriers and biases over many years and in many institutions have limited their progress.  Royal Society Te Apārangi is not alone in addressing significant gender biases in their Fellowships and research excellence awards – this is a challenge facing many national academies.

“In New Zealand we also need to be proactive in recognising and promoting the work of researchers who are Māori, who work in the private sector, and who are recent migrants or their descendants. We are working hard to remove barriers and support engagement, to reduce unconscious bias and become more diverse,” says Professor Bedford.

The 150th Anniversary International Symposium is being held in Wellington with 17 different Academies from Europe, UK, China, Finland, Canada, Australia and the Pacific; international academies, and the Assistant Director General of UNESCO along with valued researchers from CRIs, universities, independent research organisations and government agencies.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi