Hi! I’m Farah — E4D’s New Researcher

Friday, January 8, 2021 - 08:31

My name’s Farah Qaiser, and I’m excited to join Evidence For Democracy (E4D) as a researcher. I’m joining the team to work on a short-term research project to better understand federal science communication.

I’ll be honest with you: I still can’t believe this is happening! We’re still living through a global  pandemic, and I am very fortunate, and thankful, to now be working with my dream organization. It’s clear that now, more than ever, evidence-informed decision-making is critical. This requires clear and effective science communication - from both individuals within academia and at different levels of government. 

I’m leading a research project to investigate and recommend effective tools that can be used by Canadian federal departments and agencies to better communicate science to the public, stakeholders and policymakers. This project is supported by a grant from the Science Policy Division at the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC). For context, the IAAC is responsible for the implementation of the Impact Assessment Act (2019): a planning and decision-making tool used to assess the environmental, economic, health, and social effects of proposed major projects carried out on federal lands, as well as the impacts on Indigenous groups and rights of Indigenous peoples. The goal of this project is to create enhanced transparency and public participation in the science and research of the government impact assessment process.

Photo credit: Nathan Chan.

My research project will include reviewing current tools used by the federal government in Canada, and in other countries, along with exploring the successes and challenges of different approaches. I will identify best practices in communicating federal science, propose recommendations to improve federal science communication, and create a series of generalized tools which can be used by all federal departments and agencies. Stay tuned!

Here’s a little bit about me: I’m a researcher and science communicator. In 2020, I completed a Master of Science degree at the University of Toronto, where I carried out DNA sequencing to better understand neurological disorders. I’ve written about science and scientists for various media outlets, co-founded the Toronto Science Policy Network, and currently serve on the Canada Chief Science Advisor's inaugural Youth Council. Currently, I’m wearing a couple of hats. I’m working as a genomics research analyst at the UHN Epilepsy Genetics Clinic, as a researcher here at E4D, and teaching the Science Communication Toolbox for Researchers program at NSERC PermafrostNet. I’ll admit: I’m definitely a little busy! But being active in both research and science communication gives me a useful perspective when carrying out this research project.

If you’ve been keeping up with E4D, you may have seen my name pop up a few times as I’ve contributed as a volunteer in the past. Previously, I helped with communications during the 2018 March for Science – Toronto, and wrote an E4D blog post about how Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons are a form of science advocacy. In addition, while serving as 2019-20 Toronto Science Policy Network President, I co-organized the #VoteScience campaign, which included working alongside organizations like E4D. Working here, even remotely, feels like a dream come true.

I’ll be with E4D for the spring of 2021. If you want to get in touch, whether it’s to ask a question, or to share an example of federal science communication, feel free to reach out to me here: farah@evidencefordemocracy.ca

Photo Credit: Bhairavi Shankar.

Farah Qaiser

Researcher

Farah Qaiser is a researcher and science communicator. In 2020, Farah completed a Master of Science degree at the University of Toronto, where she carried out DNA sequencing to better understand neurological disorders.