Representatives from all over the world joined the Triennial Conference of the InterAcademy Partnership and Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies, brainstorming on how research structures can be more equitable.
The well-being of communities depends on valuing and engaging the rich diversity of all community members. This is especially true for the international research community, highlighted the Triennial Conference of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies, a gathering that took take place online and at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2.
Over 220 participants from 60 countries registered for this hybrid conference that explored the theme ‘Inclusive Excellence: Harnessing Knowledge for Sustainable Societies’ and considered how research can address global challenges, how current research structures and processes exclude valuable voices and knowledge systems, and how to make these structures and processes more equitable and sustainable.
Inclusivity as cornerstone of scientific progress
The Triennial IAP Conference has always been a key event for the global network of science, medical and engineering academies, and for the first time this gathering saw the participation of young academy representatives.
Early-career researchers sat next to senior academicians not only in person at Biosphere 2, but also in the 13 sessions included in the Conference’s programme.
“The success of this meeting is a perfect illustration of the progressive efforts to synergize initiatives for the advancement of science between senior and young academies worldwide,” said Priscilla Mante, co-chair of the Global Young Academy (GYA), adding that “this synergy is important to foster interdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogue needed for building sustainable research ecosystems that foster inclusive excellence.”
“This meeting, without exaggeration, was undoubtedly a long-awaited event. The exceptional diversity and expertise of speakers facilitated lively, well-balanced, engaging discussions,” she emphasised.
An inter-generational discussion to foster science
The opening plenary session, ‘Inclusive excellence and climate justice’, set the tone of the event, and included not only welcome remarks from IAP and young academy representatives, but also a keynote presentation by Honorable Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
“We need to communicate the climate crisis much better,” she said, stressing the opinion that climate justice, a concept that links human rights and development to achieve a human-centred approach, will be key to achieve a sustainable future.
During this 3-day event, participants discussed some of the major project and activities carried out by IAP and its regional networks in the past three years – such as Climate Change and Health, Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences, and activities of the IAP Science Education Programme – and highlighted challenges and opportunities for researchers from all regions.
Supporting the vital role of science in…
IAP co-President Masresha Fetene believes that the conference had proven to be “a unique opportunity for interaction and exchange of refreshing ideas and perspectives.”
“The Conference, by bringing together amazing talents, seasoned scholars from different continents and from young and senior academies, was able to generate critical recommendations for governments, policy makers, international organization and the scientific community at large.”
“Also, true to its motto, the Conference has been very inclusive in terms of the gender composition of its contributors, the regional distribution of the participants, the career stage of the various presenters, and the diversity of the topics addressed,” he added.
IAP co-President Peggy Hamburg agrees. “In partnership, we have examined an array of pressing issues for science and society, ranging from climate change and health, energy transition, pandemic preparedness and response, to the value of diversity and inclusion in academia and scientific academies,” she said.
“Exciting progress has been made, but so much more needs to be done. It is clear that this is a critical time to strengthen and extend the role and impact of IAP. More than ever, the world needs an expert and engaged global scientific community to catalyse, shape and advance science and evidence based policy, programmes and action.
“As a newly elected IAP co-President, I am eager to help IAP continue to extend the organization’s unique and vital contributions to science and society,” she concluded.
The Conference was hosted by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and co-organized by IAP, the Global Young Academy (GYA), the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the Royal Society of Canada, the RSC College, and the NAS New Voices Program.
IAP first shared this post.