JSPG Hosts International Science Policy Memo Writing Workshop on “Trust in Science” with the Global Young Academy
On May 29 & 30, 2021, the Journal of Science Policy & Governance (JSPG) and the Global Young Academy (GYA) held a joint virtual science policy memo writing workshop for early career researchers all across the globe. The goal of the workshop was to equip early career researchers with the essential tools needed to write effective policy memos. During the workshop there were several presentations to introduce JSPG and GYA, followed by a keynote presentation from Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, Executive Secretary at the Nigerian Academy of Science. Over the course of two days, the workshop gave participants the opportunity to draft an outline of a science policy memo and receive feedback from policy experts.
The workshop had a presence from all around the world. There were 70 participants that represented over 20 different countries. The participants came together across different time zones to develop skills for writing science policy memos on topics related to the 2021 GYA Annual Conference theme “Trust in Science.” Day 1 was full of presentations and our first breakout activity. Dr. Nicole Parker, JSPG’s Director of U.S. Outreach, provided participants with an overview of the journal and opportunities to publish. This was followed by a presentation from Dr. Felix Moronta Barrios, member of GYA and former co-lead of the Science Advice Working Group, introducing GYA and the Science Advice Working Group. Both JSPG and GYA are organizations focused on early career engagement, and the participants were provided with many resources to get involved.
The keynote presentation from Dr. Doyin Odubanjo focused on the intersection between science and policy making. He provided several tips on how to write an effective policy memo including but not limited to using simple language, providing evidence, and being succinct. Throughout the presentation he emphasized the importance of knowing your audience and conducting stakeholder analysis prior to writing the memo. The presentation also included several case studies from the Nigerian Academy of Science to emphasize writing skills.
Following presentations, the remainder of day 1 and day 2 were filled with an opportunity for participants to work in groups to develop outlines for their science policy memos on “Transforming Food Systems: Public Trust and Engagement to Reach the UN SDGs” and “Science Policy Advice - Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” These were two of several topics for the 2021 GYA Annual Conference on “Trust in Science.” Both topics resulted in a robust discussion led by our moderators, many of whom were GYA members. The participants were able to draft a memo outline on day 1, which was reviewed on day 2 for expert feedback. The workshop was extremely helpful in building confidence for our participants in writing an effective and impactful science policy memo.
Following the workshop, organizers assessed the impact amongst the participants with a survey. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the workshop and many participants felt it was very useful. Nine out of ten participants rated the presentation by Dr Doyin Odubanjo as excellent or very good. The usefulness of practical exercises, of moderation with experts, and the insights provided by reviewers were also highly appreciated by all participants.
Participants also indicated that the workshop was highly relevant to their work and provided some testimonials.
This was my first time attending a workshop on Policy Memo writing. I was always very confused and irritated by the way the information on the internet is available but this workshop cleared all my doubts and removed the barrier for starting to write a memo about my own research area.
I really appreciated breaking the memo down into key parts to get us thinking and make it easier to tackle.I was worried that the breakout rooms were going to be awkward/hard to engage with but they ended up being great! Small groups with a clear moderator and clear format/goals really helped.
Finally, two thirds of participants expressed an interest in submitting a policy memo to JSPG.
This writing workshop was a very fruitful and exciting collaboration between two organizations dedicated to early career researchers. To watch the full workshop visit JSPG’s YouTube page. If you’re interested in writing a science policy memo, submit your ideas to our next standard issue by November 14, 2021.
Article written by Dr. Nicole Parker, JSPG Director of US Outreach, in collaboration with Dr. Felix Moronta Barrios, former co-lead of the GYA Science Advice Working Group.
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