Translational science has been described in medical literature as a “bench to bedside” process, in which scientific development can actually be translated into drugs, devices, and treatments that make a difference in people’s health and life quality. But ensuring that the bench reaches the bedside involves a lot more than lab work, clinical trials and good results. If the results – and the process – are not communicated to the public and to policy makers in a clear, transparent and didactic way, they can be ignored, frowned upon, and even used to build distrust and conspiracy theories.
Maybe it’s time we broaden the definition of “translational science” into one that encompasses the use of science in policy making. If scientific development can make the way from bench to bed, it should also be able to make the way from bench to parliament, government officials, laws and regulations. Translating science into policy is just as important as translating science into products. And without public understanding and acceptance of science, both become very unlikely.
Response by Stuart Firestein, Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University
Moderated by Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History and Founding Director of the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University
This event has been postponed.
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