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Dr. Victoria Metcalf

Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, New Zealand

Dr. Victoria Metcalf is a marine biologist, geneticist and science communicator committed to making a difference. She has made seven trips to the Antarctic and has been researching Antarctic fish and invertebrates since 1998. Dr Metcalf also has interest in New Zealand aquaculture species. She is learning more about how key species have adapted to their environment and the potential impacts of warming temperatures, ocean acidification and pollution. She is also passionate about engaging the public with science and has a role in the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor as National Coordinator for a novel flagship initiative called the Participatory Science Platform. This initiative seeks to engage communities and scientists to work together on locally meaningful projects.

Curious Citizens: Engaging People with Science

We are in an era of unprecedented issues facing humanity and the world we live in. Science is central to many of these global problems we face and yet often there is a mistrust or lack of understanding around science. Hence, raising our science literacy is incredibly important, especially to the future of young New Zealanders. To achieve this requires mutual understanding and open communication between communities and the science sector, something known as social license. Citizen science, where individuals can be partly or wholly involved in the scientific research process, is one entry point by which anyone can discover science. In this presentation I will describe how these citizen science approaches can help people engage with science and explain what differing citizen science approaches there are. Participatory science approaches, as one form of citizen science and in a world first, are now being piloted within New Zealand, whereby communities get to work on projects that are meaningful to them in partnership with scientists and educators. These have exciting potential to really make a difference for communities, well beyond simply lifting science literacy and to also improve outcomes for scientists. I will describe some of the current diverse and interesting projects underway, what they may lead to and how people can get involved. This is an innovative initiative for New Zealand, and other countries will be watching how the pilot proceeds with interest
Emergin infectious diseases with Associate Professor Gavin Smith

Watch Dr. Victoria Metcalf’s Sci21 webcast, Curious Citizens: Engaging People with Science