Public news items from the Young Academy of Scotland.

Creating a Charter for Responsible Public Debate

Democracies pride themselves in allowing space for free political discussion as a way of peacefully working out compromises for how to live together in the context of opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and competition over scarce resources. Because of this, we need ways of disagreeing with each other and yet achieving common ground. Politics has always been a place of disagreement and debate, but recent politics – especially in the age of social media – seems to be increasingly polarised. So the questions we want to address is whether there are there better and worse ways to disagree with one another? Can responsible public debate renew democracy?

To begin to do so, the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) is today holding a workshop with politicians, media personalities, campaigners, activists and academics to share experience and propose possible principles for a draft Charter for Responsible Public Debate Charter. Hosted by Matthew Chrisman, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, the event will explore the many issues preventing healthy public debate in society, and ways people can be encouraged to disagree with one another more constructively.

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MSPs and YAS members pair up for evidence-based policymaking

New programme brings together MSPs and young researchers and professionals to promote evidence-based policy solutions

A group of young researchers and professionals will enter Holyrood today as part of a new pairing scheme which encourages constructive relationships between policymakers and emerging leaders from across Scotland’s academic and professional domains.

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Alaa Hamdon discusses Mosul Book Bridge on BBC Radio 4

Alaa MBB

Alaa Hamdon welcomes the first consignment of new books from Book Aid International to Mosul Library in 2018.

YAS member Dr Alaa Hamdon has detailed the work being done by YAS and partners at University College London and Book Aid International to rebuild and restock Mosul University Library on BBC Radio 4’s live arts programme, Front Row.

Mosul University, where Alaa researches and lecturers as an Earthquake Analyst, was one of the first institutions targeted by IS after their occupation of Mosul in 2014.  Its University Library, which housed over a million books, including historical documents over 300 years old was sacked and later burned completely.

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Young Academy member questions MPs at Voices of the Future 2019

VOF Full Room

Siobhán O’Connor, a Lecturer in Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh, represented the Young Academy of Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh recently at Voices of the Future 2019. This event offered young research leaders the opportunity to discuss the future of science policy in the UK with senior political figures at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

The annual platform is organised by the Royal Society of Biology and provides early careers researchers with insights and influence into the policy translation process. They get to voice their questions and discuss burning scientific policy issues with key political figures. On 12th March 2019, the Voices of the Future event was held in Committee Room 14 at the Place of Westminster and streamed live on Parliament TV. This provided Siobhán and others young leaders in science from across the UK the chance to delve into the complexities of key policy issues.

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Happy International Women's Day!

The theme of this year's International Women's Day is #BalanceforBetter.

Happy International Women’s Day from the Young Academy of Scotland.  To celebrate this important day, we’re reflecting on some of our projects that address gender equality and help advance women and girls.  

Since being founded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) in 2011, YAS has been committed to the principals of equality and diversity, both within its membership and in all projects and collaborations.  From our first recruitment round, we have committed to being gender balanced, and at present 57% of our membership is female.

We reaffirmed our commitment to equality when launching our first strategic plan in 2015, when we named Equal as one of our six strategic themes.  We define this theme as ‘promote equality and justice between peoples and nations,’ and a key element of this is to advocate for gender equality within YAS, in Scotland and internationally.

Please see below for a selection of YAS projects which have addressed gender-balance and the rights of women:

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Andrew has over 15 years working with young children: as a teacher, academic, start-up director, and, more recently, parent. His research examines the role of interaction in cognition, and the implications for early learning and new forms of technology. He is also interested in computing education for children in the early years.