TOGETHER AGAINST MISINFORMATION
ScienceUpFirst is a national initiative that works with a collective of independent scientists, researchers, health care experts and science communicators. We share the best available science in creative ways to stop the spread of misinformation
Right now, our focus is debunking health misinformation.
ScienceUpFirst Flowthrough Microgrant
The ScienceUpFirst Community Engagement Grantprogram was developed through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF). The program ran from 2020 to March 2023 and focused on community-based efforts to improve COVID-19 vaccine confidence, address vaccine misinformation, and curb vaccine-preventable diseases.
CASC, through the ScienceUpFirst initiative, developed a flowthrough grant to support engagement in equity-deserving communities across the network. The Community Engagement Grant was designed to financially support CASC members working in consultation with equity-deserving communities across Canada.
These members were to develop public engagement activities that improved COVID-19 booster understanding and uptake, as well as gathered valuable data on the misinformation landscape and strategies being used to address misinformation within diverse communities.The grant recipients collaborated with partners in Indigenous communities (First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples), racialized people living in Canada, Newcomers to Canada, LGBTQ2+ individuals, and persons experiencing low-income and food insecurity.
Science North, located in Sudbury, Ontario, was built on the philosophy of taking ordinary people through active processes to understand the link between science, technology and their day-to-day lives. Since the centre opened its doors in 1984 they’ve supported their purpose to inspire all people to interact with science in the world around them through active learning with their world-class exhibitions and the tailored experiences provided by their enthusiastic “Bluecoat” staff.
Science North partnered with the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Art Association (SMFAA) and the YMCA Immigrant Services team to host two Science Café events, providing newcomers and culturally diverse residents with access to credible COVID-19 resources and experts. The events featured moderated discussions with a panel of experts in the areas of public health, mental health, health research, physiotherapy and international student/immigration advisors.
To reduce barriers for participation, free parking and public transportation were provided and children's activities were offered to help parents who would have needed childcare. 54 adults and 26 children attended the project. Audio recordings of the two events have been turned into podcasts on Science North's YouTube channel for wider viewing.
Telus World of Science - Edmonton
Telus World of Science - Edmonton’s (TWOSE) vision is to engage Albertan’s hearts and minds in science. They support science and technology awareness, education and academic performance within their community. Their Northern Coding Academy(NCA) funded through the Canadian Government’s CanCode program, provides learning opportunities to develop students’ digital and 21st Century skills. The program's primary focus is on supporting teachers and students in underserved urban and rural communities across Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
TWOSE's Northern Coding Academy program received a Community Engagement Grant to support teachers and students with digital skills, navigating misinformation, and researching online. They partnered with two school districts with a high proportion of Indigenous students for three programs: Fact Finders (Grades 4-6), Media Sleuths (Grades 7-12) and a Research Skills and Credibility webinar for teachers.
They received positive responses from administrators and teachers, as well as the project allowed them to strengthen their relationships with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Cree Language Speakers. These partnerships are essential to ensuring that the programs are relevant to students and respectful of diverse worldviews.The activities developed through the grant will become permanent additions to the NCA's program offerings.
Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre first opened its doors in 1969. Since then it has welcomed over 54 million visitors from across Ontario, Canada and around the world. The OSC is guided by its vision to create a more curious, creative and resilient world through science and technology.
The Ontario Science Centre partnered with Francis Jeffers, Founder of the Canadian Multicultural Inventors Museum, to develop a misinformation and vaccination awareness event for youth and their families. The result saw 72 youth and their families gather on a Saturday morning in March 2023 to take part in a series of events to raise awareness of misinformation and vaccinations.
The first event of the morning was a panel discussion with immunologist Dr. David Burt and public health professional Ika Washington, both from the Black Scientists Task Force.
Following the panel, visitors participated in a warm-up activity to create a sense of belonging among the participants; a centering activity to process and share the new ideas and take-aways; and a building activity where each team created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that incorporated what they’d learned from the day’s sessions to address misinformation and improve vaccine awareness in a way that would be relevant to their community.
Complimentary lunch vouchers and group passes were given to all attendees to encourage them to return to the OSC. The event proved to be successful, with many participants leaving with a stronger understanding of COVID-19, vaccinations, and boosters.
Entomica Insectarium is Sault Ste Marie’s insect-focused science centre and natural history museum. Through their unique collection of exotic insects, amphibians, reptiles and birds, they connect their audience with nature and inspire life-long learning and curiosity. This small, nimble team brings their insects on the road for live experiences and demonstration in the community, at schools, and at retirement residences.
Entomica Insectarium provided four free community engagement events with their partners – three in-person and one online.
1. The first event, Valentines, Vixens and Vaccines, presented in partnership with Sault Pride, supported vaccine education within the LGBT2+ community alongside a drag event and dance party. The event welcomed over 50 participants.
2. The second event, Viruses, Vaccines and Vino was a wine-tasting event and lecture evening for medical students, professionals and educators. The evening featured five local experts who presented on viruses, fear of what we don’t understand, how disinformation is disseminated, vaccination resources, and COVID-19’s impact on frontline healthcare workers. The event welcomes over 85 attendees
3. The third engagement was an online module about viruses and COVID-19, mRNA vaccines and boosters, and misinformation. It was pre-recorded and available to Entomica’s social media and online community.4. The final in-person community engagement took place in Jamestown and was developed in partnership with the Soup Kitchen Community Centre. 78 people participated in the event, and, Entomica was able to build meaningful relationships with those communities experiencing low-income and food insecurity, as well as gain valuable insights into the reasons for low vaccine uptake within this community.
Visions of Science Network for Learning
Since 2004 Visions of Science Network for Learning (VOSNL) has engaged 12,000 racialized and low-income youth across the Greater Toronto Area in over 25 communities. Through outreach workshops, in-class engagements, Community STEM clubs and STEM community leaders, they support marginalized youth’s positive development and educational success through meaningful STEM experiences.
VOSNL's Community Engagement Grant Project brought together the 2022 vaccine education cohort for a two-part experience.
In the first part, 27 youth and community leaders participated in six focus groups to identify areas where the COVID-19 and health landscape have changed since the cohort began.On March 18, 2023, a virtual knowledge-sharing session based on the feedback from the focus groups was held with 77 members of the cohort in attendance. The session provided an overview of health and disease prevention, as well as information on COVID-19 variants, risks and benefits of vaccines, and other vaccine-related concerns. Attendees engaged in activities such as quizzes, polls, fun risk comparisons, as well as shared their personal experiences s A total of 89 unique participants actively engaged with the project across the two parts.
Lotus STEMM is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting South Asian women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine (STEMM). They offer a range of programs for female-identifying people of all ages and their families to increase visibility and success in STEMM fields. Lotus STEMM aims to provide South Asian women and girls with the opportunities, network and space for personal and professional development as they navigate STEMM education and careers.
Lotus STEMM conducted a research project to assess health misinformation among international students in the Peel Region of the GTA. The project had three stages: a pre-survey, semi-structured group interview (including a misinformation handout), and a post-survey. The pre-survey gave Lotus STEMM an overview of the 15 participants' demographics, their baseline knowledge about misinformation, and where they access their health information.In group interviews with 5 to 6 students each, they discussed science and health misinformation and how to identify it. All participants reviewed the Fighting Misinformation handout developed
by the University of Alberta at the start of the session.
The post-survey showed that after the session, 47% of students reported an increased understanding of misinformation, including how to detect it and awareness of how important it is to check sources.Lotus STEMM worked with their partners, such as the South Asian and Tamil Women’s Coalition, Laadiyan, and Strive Opp., to help recruit students for the study.
Let’s make following science-informed facts a trend!
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission, health information and governments’ response. The WHO has called this a global infodemic. Nationally, almost half of Canadians may believe one or more COVID-19 related conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy theories and misinformation are rapidly spread on social media and represent a threat to health and safety. This results in poor public health response, destruction of property and threats to life. They create a chaotic information environment, making it difficult to tease out sense from nonsense. These false messages require immediate and effective evidence based responses.
#ScienceUpFirst addresses the urgent need for national cooperation.
A team of independent scientists, researchers, information experts, health care providers and science communicators are working collaboratively, to create and disseminate best in class health-related information for the general public.
Absolutely everyone is welcome. All you need to participate is a social media account and an email address if you would like to be more involved.
Through #ScienceUpFirst we are inviting everyone to consider the available science first before sharing content online. We also hope to inspire people to amplify the distribution of science-informed content. #ScienceUpFirst is both good practice and a call to action!
1. Join the movement: Follow on social media!
2. Go to ScienceUpFirst.com/share/ for downloadable versions of all the recent posts.
3. Use the Hashtag #ScienceUpFirst when you are:
Posting expert-vetted content.
- Sharing expert-vetted content.
- Pointing out misinformation online.
What is #ScienceUpFirst?
#ScienceUpFirst is a national awareness and engagement initiative that creates, distributes and amplifies best-in-class, science-informed content surrounding COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Who is #ScienceUpFirst?
We are a national coalition of independent scientists, researchers, healthcare providers and science communicators. Click here for lead organizations, steering committee, and coalition members.
There is a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission, and government response. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified this rise in misinformation as a global infodemic, and it represents a threat to the Health and Safety of Canadians. Effectively responding to this infodemic is necessary to improve health outcomes for all Canadians.
Where are we located?
The #ScienceUpFirst steering committee and coalition members are located across Canada. Click here for lead organizations, steering committee, and coalition members.