On May 17, York University participated in the Council of Ontario Universities (COU)’s Research Matters annual Pop-Up Research Park on Parliament Hill. Vice-President, Research & Innovation Robert Haché and Professor Fuyuki Kurasawa attended with Kurasawa’s display, on how digital culture is tackling the world’s problems, attracting considerable attention from members of Parliament. Research Matters chose Kurasawa’s work to represent York due to its engaging and timely relevance.
“This Pop-Up University Research Park represents a remarkable opportunity to share Ontario’s research; to connect directly with Parliament Hill; to discuss this work face-to-face with MPs, Senators and honoured guests; and to showcase the value of research and innovation to Canadian society,” said Haché, who spoke at the event on behalf of COU and the Ontario Council on University Research (OCUR). “The event is an important opportunity for government officials to engage with Ontario university research teams and learn more about how research is impacting Ontarians,” he emphasized.
Research Matters is a collaborative project among Ontario’s universities to build new bridges between university researchers and the broader public. It is designed to connect university research to everyday life. University research positively impacts our health, our finances and the economy, our food, water, and energy, and our culture.
This year’s theme of ‘Canada Through the Ages,’ was designed to celebrate the achievements of past researchers and demonstrate where research is going today. The goals were to emphasize the importance of research by reinforcing the things (both ordinary and extraordinary) research has made possible, looking back at where we were decades ago and seeing how far we’ve come today.
After a rigorous and competitive selection process, Research Matters chose Kurasawa, a York Research Chair in Global Digital Citizenship, to showcase his work. His research examines how the rise of digital culture is enabling laypeople and experts to collaborate in tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. Through his work, he also examines how new technologies are reshaping practices of creation, evaluation, and dissemination of knowledge about such global problems.
Together with Yikun Zhao (one of the lab’s graduate fellows), Kurasawa demonstrated how social media and web data can be harvested, visualized, and analyzed to identify the digital networks of actors who are debating issues such as climate change and gender-based online abuse. The duo also profiled the kinds of arguments and evidence used to influence public opinion regarding these issues.
“COU provided a wonderful platform in which to demonstrate York research and my work. I was excited to be a part of sharing my perspectives and progress at the Hill,” says Kurasawa. “Being given the opportunity to share my ideas and research with members of Parliament was priceless.”
For more information about this event, visit the Research Matters website.