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Webinar: Trusting science in a time of crisis

As we face the largest global health crisis of a generation, the role of science, and the trust we place in scientists, has taken centre stage. In a special National Science Week edition of The University of Melbourne‘s Dean’s Lecture Series, four speakers will explore how and why people trust – or distrust – science during crises. Why do people deny or ignore the science of climate change, or the miracle of vaccines? How does a jury decide which forensic evidence to trust? And what if we trust science, and it turns out to be wrong?

When: Tuesday 18 August 2020

Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm (AEST)  – (9am-10am BST)

Free webinar: register here

Dr Jessica Kaufman

Jessica is a Research Fellow in the Vaccine Uptake group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne. Her areas of expertise include vaccination-related communication and social science. Her current research includes exploring the experiences of children tested for COVID-19 and developing interventions to improve vaccine uptake in pregnant women, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and people of migrant or refugee background.

Professor David Balding

Since finishing his PhD in Mathematics, David has worked to develop and apply mathematical/statistical/computational methods and ideas in population, evolutionary, medical and forensic genetics. He has developed methods for evaluating DNA profile evidence, taking into account population genetics aspects as well as laboratory artefacts, and particularly focussing on complex mixed, low-DNA-mass and/or degraded profiles. David has given expert-witness evidence in hundreds of court cases, in the UK, USA and Australia. A graduate of Newcastle (NSW) and Oxford (UK), he worked in several UK universities before moving to the University of Melbourne in 2014, where he is Director of Melbourne Integrative Genomics, co-hosted by the School of BioSciences and the School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Dr Kate Dooley

Kate has worked in climate policy and politics since 2009, following the UN climate negotiations and other international policy processes. Kate’s research looks at the politics of carbon accounting and the equity implications of land-based climate mitigation. Kate is currently exploring the potential for ambitious restoration of natural ecosystems to remove and lock-up up atmospheric carbon.

Professor Fiona Fidler

Fiosna has a joint appointment in the Schools of Biosciences and Historical and Philosophical Studies. She is broadly interested in how experts, including scientists, make decisions and change their minds. Her past research has examined how methodological change occurs in different disciplines, including psychology, medicine and ecology, and developed methods for eliciting reliable expert judgements to improve decision making. She originally trained as a psychologist, and maintains a strong interest in psychological methods, and an abiding interest is statistical controversies. She is a current Australian Research Council Future Fellow and leads the repliCATS project (Collaborative Assessments for Trustworthy Science), a large interdisciplinary initiative which has so far evaluated the reliability of 3000 published research claims.

Dr Graham Phillips

Graham was the host and a producer-reporter for many years on ABC television’s long running science program Catalyst. He began his career as a scientist, with a PhD in astrophysics, is currently teaching science communication at the University of Melbourne.

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