Professor Trish Greenhalgh OBE delivers the Campaign for Social Science SAGE Annual Lecture 2020

10 December 2020

The Campaign for Social Science Annual SAGE Lecture 2020 by Professor Trish Greenhalgh OBE took place online on 10 December.

In her lecture: ‘Give me back my fact: How can social science help us survive the post-truth pandemic?’, Professor Trish Greenhalgh OBE drew attention to mass dissemination of distorted scientific facts in the wake of the COVID-19 and the important role of the social sciences in countering this harmful and misleading trend.

To tackle the problem, she emphasised the need to draw on the ‘social science of science’ to produce a 21st-century post-truth account of what science is. She encouraged scientists and researchers not to shy away from their detractors, but instead read what is being written about them to understand how their facts and uncertainties are being twisted.  Trish concluded that science communication is a ‘bareknuckle fight’ and to win the battle scientists ‘must reflect, engage, do epistemological work, and deconstruct’.

Responding to Trish, Dr Mahlet Zimeta explored concepts that explain our relationship with epistemology, while looking at possibilities presented by data science and new digital technologies to counter some of the challenges.

The event was moderated by Campaign for Social Science Chair, Professor Bobby Duffy FAcSS, who led a lively Q&A session covering how we can improve our relationship with the media, how to deal with trolls and how we can better prepare for future bouts of misinformation.

Trish Greenhalgh is Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford. She studied Medical, Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge and Clinical Medicine at Oxford before training first as a diabetologist and later as an academic general practitioner.

Dr Mahlet (Milly) Zimeta is Head of Public Policy at the Open Data Institute (ODI). Prior to joining the ODI in September 2020, Milly was Senior Policy Adviser at the Royal Society, where she led the Society’s policy programme on Data and Digital Disruption, and Programme Manager at the Alan Turing Institute, where she managed the Turing’s research partnership programmes in Health and in Finance/Economic Data Science.

The Campaign for Social Science/SAGE Publishing Annual Lecture is the Campaign’s yearly flagship event that has taken place since 2013. In 2019 BBC’s Home Editor Mark Easton spoke on post-Brexit societal divisions framed through the lens of identity.

Download Trish Greenhalgh Campaign SAGE 2020 Annual Lecture

Trish Greenhalgh Campaign SAGE Lecture 2020 slides

Milly Zimeta Campaign SAGE Lecture 2020 slides