STRENGTHENING CANADIAN SCIENCE ENGAGEMENT THROUGH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING

Launched in November 2020, the Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada is part of an international platform led by the Falling Walls Foundation in Berlin. It aims to create new links between leading science engagers, local and regional networks, research institutions, and citizen scientists, with the goal of amplifying their collective impact across the country.

Promoting inclusion and increasing the diversity of voices in the field of science engagement and communications is Engage Hub Canada’s central priority. In addition, the Hub has a long-term goal of becoming a valuable resource—by providing networking, training, and relationship-building—for Canadians changing their communities through their innovative outreach initiatives in support of science and science-based policymaking.

Carrie Boyce is managing the Hub taking over from Brett Hooton the inaugural Hub Manager. An Advisory Committee oversees the work of and provides strategic guidance to Engage Hub Canada. Committee members represent the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Concordia University, Ingenium, McGill University, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Queen’s University, the Toronto Zoo, the Tri‐Agency Secretariat, the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan, and Western University.

As one of nine Engage Hubs around the world, Engage Hub Canada plugs Canadian science engagers into a global community where they can learn from peers, build new partnerships, and contribute in meaningful ways toward addressing pressing global issues. The Falling Walls Engage team in Berlin and the Hub Managers around the world meet regularly to plan activities and events that will strengthen links between their regional networks and the international community of science engagers.

Image credit (above): Photo by Jackie Hutchinson on Unsplash.

 

The Power of the Pitch

On May 15 and 16, 2023 in Ottawa, the Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada organized a special bilingual event for science outreach professionals, called “The Power of the Pitch: A Funding and Skills‐building Workshop for Canadian Science Engagers.” The workshop was co‐designed by Under the Microscope, a non‐profit based in Nairobi, which promotes initiatives that advance science education across Kenyan and the African continent. The workshop received financial support from McGill University, the Falling Walls Foundation, Queen’s University, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) as well as through an Outreach Initiative grant from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

The primary goals of the “Power of the Pitch” were as follows:
• To provide a skills-building workshop for Canadian Science Engagement professionals to improve their ability to secure funding and excel in today’s funding landscape and to develop new skills to successfully engage their multistakeholder audiences.
• To foster community building and networking opportunities among Science Engagement professionals from Canada and around the world.
• To promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM through travel bursaries and targeted invitations to small organizations with staff of 10 people or fewer.
• To enable participants to contribute their lived experiences to the first iteration of a global funding toolkit.

The Engage Hub Canada emphasizes diversity and accessibility in all its activities. “The Power of the Pitch” workshop and accompanying activities embodied this commitment, with workshop attendees representing 33 organizations in seven provinces and territories—Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan—as well as in Cameroon and Japan. Nearly all the organizations present at the workshop have mandates to work with equity-deserving groups, such as youth (girls, rural, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming), BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ Science Engagers, and Indigenous communities.

Past Events

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION AND PLANETARY HEALTH

Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada and the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) have teamed up to offer an engaging one-day event on Monday, May 2, at McGill University entitled ‘Symposium for Science Engagement: Communicating the Urgency of Planetary Health’ in the vibrant city of Montreal, Quebec.

Science and environment writers and outreach professionals were invited for a day of workshops, networking, and presentations devoted to discussing the challenges we face in supporting planetary health, and the potential for change through science engagement.

Sessions featured leading Canadian and international scientists, including Cynthia Umuhire, Space Science Analyst with the Rwanda Space Agency, Oscar Contreras-Villarroel, Director of External Relations for the Giant Magellan Telescope, Anthony Morgan, 2020 Engage Finalist of Science Everywhere, Ursula Eicker, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities, among others.

Participants had the opportunity to engage in an interactive experience with Milton Riaño, McGill’s first Climate Change Artist in Residence. The Hub event was held back-to-back to McGill Space Conference on 3-4 May 2022.

GET INVOLVED

The Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada is currently establishing a formal governance structure, reaching out to collaborators across the country, and planning more fun and exciting events.

If you share a passion for celebrating science and would like to learn more about the Hub, please reach out to engage@falling-walls.com.

Carrie Boyce is the Manager of the Engage Hub Canada and the Executive Director of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience), Canada’s oldest scientific society that’s been connecting Canadians with science since 1849! With over ten years of experience working in the field of science communication and public engagement, it’s fair to say Carrie’s become a Jack of all trades, master of some… Originally from Northern Ireland, she moved to Cambridge, England to pursue a degree in Natural Sciences, before working for organisations like the University of Cambridge, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Cancer Research UK. Eager for life’s next adventure, she moved to Canada in 2017 and has been happily working with RCIScience (and drinking maple syrup) ever since.

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