Aspen Global Congress on Scientific Thinking & Action – Report

July 6, 2021  • Stella Levantesi, Aaron F. Mertz, Ph.D. & Natália Pasternak Taschner

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Originally scheduled to meet in Rome, Italy, the Aspen Global Congress on Scientific Thinking & Action took form as a virtual congress in March 2021. On this occasion, the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program (USA) and the Instituto Questão de Ciência (IQC, Question of Science Institute, Brazil), in partnership with the Aspen Institute Italia and EquiTech Futures, convened more than 100 scientists, scholars, journalists, and communicators from more than 50 countries around the world.

Through presentations by leading experts, small-group breakout sessions, and all-group discussions, the congress focused on global themes that transcend geographical boundaries: science literacy, science popularization, vaccines, climate change, medicine, and food biotechnologies.

The meeting, co-chaired by Aaron Mertz, Ph.D., a biophysicist and the founding director of the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program, and Natália Pasternak, Ph.D., a microbiologist and founder and president of the IQC, strived to lay the foundation for a roadmap to design and implement science communication strategies, to create a global network of scientists and science communicators with the aim of translating scientific thinking into action, and to build bridges among science organizations and groups globally.

Never before has it been more important to ensure the application of scientific rationale to formulate public policies based on solid scientific evidence, to promote scientific education and popularization, and to produce accurate and trustworthy scientific communication while holding industries, governments, and political leaders accountable for the global future.