Science Leadership Program

April 23 – 25, 2014

Now in its second year, the Science Leadership Program (SLP) aims to provide outstanding academic scientists with the skills, approaches and frameworks for engaging more effectively with the media, decision makers and the public throughout their careers. Designed by Prof. Ray Jayawardhana, Senior Advisor on Science Engagement to the President of the University of Toronto, with the guidance of a planning advisory group, the SLP is targeted primarily at a select group of early and mid-career faculty members in the sciences, engineering and medicine. We aim to build a network of top researchers across the UofT and other research-intensive universities in Canada, who share a common set of goals and to connect them with leaders of relevant external organizations and media to help foster a culture change. View this year’s SLP 2014 Speakers and Panelists as well as the Participants.

The ‘boot camp’ begins with a reception on the evening of Wednesday, April 23rd and ends with a group dinner on Friday, April 25th. The program consists of a series of hands-on training sessions on communications, outreach and leadership, discussion panels and opportunities for interaction. Experienced trainers and prominent practitioners lead the sessions and participate in the panels. Nancy Houfek, head of voice & speech at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University will run a session on ‘the performance art of science presentation’; Peter Redstone and Dr. Martin Bloxham of The Barefoot Thinking Company, a world leader in delivering “leadership” programs for scientists and researchers, will offer ideas and tools on creative thinking, change strategies and strategic mapping. Other session topics include affecting policy, community involvement and team building. In addition, several top journalists will discuss opportunities and challenges of media engagement; there will be parallel sessions on effective online communications featuring well known bloggers/podcasters. Given the intensity and the nature of the training, participants are expected to commit to the full two days of the program.

Over the course of the following year, the SLP Fellows (participants of the 2014 program) are encouraged to put into practice what they learn at the workshop to further their vision for broad engagement through outreach initiatives, community partnerships, mentoring programs or writing/speaking for the public. They are also invited to attend a gathering to share their experiences and best practices with the other Fellows.

Normally 11 participants from UofT and about 8 more from other research-intensive Canadian universities are selected.

Selection criteria include:

  • excellence in scientific/engineering/medical research and teaching;
  • passion and capacity to exercise leadership and enthusiasm for communicating science;
  • interest, willingness and appropriate professional position to engage with stakeholders; and,
  • commitment to participate fully in the training program and follow-up activities.

APPLICATIONS FOR 2014 are now closed

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