Niels Stensen Fellowship Conference 2017: When facts fail. Science in the Post-Truth-Era

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With the topic “When facts fail”, the Niels Stensen Fellowship Conference 2017 addressed trust issues in knowledge transfer from academia to society. In our “post-truth-era”, this transfer faces many challenges. Citizens increasingly wonder what and who to believe. Supposed facts may turn out to represent fake news. What can the science community do to remain one of the most trusted professions in the world? Some sixty participants, including many young Niels Stensen alumni, fellows, researchers and representatives of media, politics and universities discussed how to deal with this new reality.

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The conference was held at a special location, the Leerhotel Het Klooster in Amersfoort, a former monastery in which students learn and work on their skills in the fields of gastronomy and hospitality.

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Keynote speaker at the conference was Dr. Sander vander Linden, assistant professor in Social Psychology and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab. According to Dr. Van der Linden, facts are important but by themselves are not sufficient to convince people as long as misinformation is also present. His team researched why facts sometimes lose the battle with false interpretations and fake news. They used the data and myths around climate change as an example. He also explored solutions and indicated that people can be “inoculated” against misinformation. The discussion panel and break-out sessions that followed allowed participants to exchange views on the roles of media, universities, politicians and scientists themselves in making sure science does not lose its credibility. The conference was facilitated by Prof. dr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin, parting President of the NSF Committee. grote zaal

 

Members of the panel and speakers included: prof. dr. Huub Dijstelbloem (Universiteit van Amsterdam); drs. Wilma de Koning (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen); ir.Willem Schoonen (Dagblad Trouw); dr. Ad Verbrugge (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and NSF alumnus dr. Hanne van Ballegooijen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).

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For the full programme and biographies, download the conference programme here.

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Niels Stensen Fellowship conferences challenge alumni to reflect on the social role of science and their personal contribution to the common good. The next conference will take place on Thursday 30 August 2018. 

Niels Stensen Fellowship Young Fellow Programme 2017: THNK. Creative leadership.

The Niels Stensen Fellowship invites her most recent alumni every year to a post-conference programme. This year they participated in a workshop “Trust” and a workshop “Story-telling” at THNK in Amsterdam. This short movie gives an impression.