Science and society take center stage at Davos panel

Update Science and society take center stage at Davos panel
The WEF 2019 is held at Davos in Switzerland. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Science and society take center stage at Davos panel

Science and society take center stage at Davos panel
  • UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah bint Yousif Al-Amiri was one of the speakers
  • The panelists addressed the relationship of science and society

DUBAI: Panelists at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland took the stage Friday to talk about science and society, including issues such as vaccine skepticism and digital health among others.

Among the speakers was UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah bint Yousif Al-Amiri. She was joined by Martina Hirayama, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education and Research and Innovation; Andrew Thompson, co-founder and CEO of Proteus Digital Health Inc.; Shellice Sairras, a medical researcher at Academic Hospital Paramaribo; and Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president at European Research Council.

The panelists addressed the relationship of science and society, including topics such as how the public consumes scientific information in their daily lives; digitalization of health; and the impact of technology in public health.

One of the issues the panelists discussed was vaccine skepticism, which the they agreed was a common debate in a lot of countries.

“We as scientists have the obligation to communicate science in layman’s language to our communities,” medical researcher Sairras said, highlighting the importance of public understanding in addressing health issues.

UAE Minister Al-Amiri said the research process should be “humanized,” instead of just focusing on presenting the results in numbers.

“We established a team in my office to create science content for the public, translating scientific information to become more understandable,” she said.

The panel also underscored the importance of including the youth in these public discussions about health, with some panelists mentioning the role of social media in the discourse.

“Communication on social media is much more impactful than anywhere else,” Al-Amiri added.