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How are laboratories tackling misinformation

publication date: Sep 28, 2022
author/source: Easyfairs


Why opening up communication channels can stop the spread of misinformation 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the dangers of misinformation in the science industry. This phenomenon has been amplified with the popularity of forums and platforms that act as news distribution networks without a filter or editorial oversight. Here Aleiya Lonsdale, Head of Event at the largest laboratory event in the UK, Lab Innovations 2022,  discusses how the lab community has tried to hold back against the tide of scientific misinformation.

Public exposure to conspiracy theories can have a big impact on public health, most notably around the subject of vaccinations. The COVID-19 vaccine was hit by various claims that it could make women infertile, change a person’s genetic code and even cause cancer. Tackling misinformation requires joint effort between governments, social media creators, local leaders and the scientific community.


Opening up communication

One way that laboratories are trying to tackle misinformation is by using modern media methods like podcasts that are fast gaining popularity. The Mayo Clinic Laboratories has created a podcast called Answers From the Lab. In one episode, Dr. Bill Morice discusses tackling COVID-19 misinformation, specifically around PCR tests. Podcast genres are incredibly diverse and, done right, can reach millions of people. Listeners of podcasts account for 20 per cent of all internet users, making them an accessible tactic to share information. 

As universities, laboratories and scientific societies use popular media forms to share knowledge, they close the communication gap between scientists and the rest of the population. Increased communication can also mean an increase in trust. In the 2020/21 Wellcome Global Monitor survey, 77 per cent of respondents said they trusted scientists either “a lot” or “some”. This was a nine per cent increase from the 2018 survey, which could be explained by the increased communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Encouraging the next generation of scientists

A study into the influence of education on health by Raghupathi and Raghupathifound that adults with a higher level of education had better health and lifespans compared to their lesser-educated peers. Scientists can encourage students to take an interest in STEM through visits to the classroom, reaching out to schools and offering tours around the lab or even providing free educational material for students.

In a collaboration between Canterbury Christ Church University and Discovery Park, a community lab has been set up to provide support to schools across Kent. The lab offers access to industrial-standard laboratory space and equipment to BTEC and A-Level students to encourage young people to pursue STEM subjects in further education. The project has also been supported by Pfizer and Kent County Council, bringing together local government and scientists towards a common goal. 

By opening up communication channels, engaging with the community and building trust, laboratories are able to make an impact on the spread of misinformation. Challenges, trends and innovations regarding the lab industry will be discussed at Lab Innovations, the only exhibition in the UK for the entire laboratory industry, on November 2 and 3, 2022 at the NEC in Birmingham. For more information on what’s happening at Lab Innovations, visit the Lab Innovations website.


About Lab Innovations

Lab Innovations has fast become the UK’s must-attend event for the entire laboratory industry. Supported by some of the UK’s top science institutions, it is a key event for powering the business of science. 

The show floor is bursting with innovations from more than 160 leading scientific suppliers and manufacturers showcasing the latest laboratory developments and equipment. Exhibitors present the most cutting-edge technology applicable to a plethora of industries including life sciences, pharmaceuticals, academia, healthcare, chemical, food & drink, cleanroom and more.


About Easyfairs

Easyfairs organises and hosts events, bringing communities together to visit the future. We currently organise 200 face-to-face events in 14 countries (Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and manage eight event venues in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden (Antwerp, Ghent, Mechelen-Brussels North, Namur, Gorinchem, Hardenberg, Malmö and Stockholm).

We are passionate about “easifying” the life of our customers and increasing the return on investment and return on time for professional communities through our all-in formulas, advanced technology and customer-centric approach. Our digital features and initiatives provide these communities with excellent opportunities to network effectively and do business throughout the year. We listen carefully to create compelling online formats that meet their constantly evolving needs.

The Easyfairs Group employs 700 highly committed talents, deploys the best marketing and technology tools, and develops brands with a strong appeal to our stakeholder communities.

In 2018 Easyfairs was named Belgium’s “Entrepreneur of the Year®” and a “Great Place to Work”. For the fourth year running, Deloitte conferred “Best Managed Company” status on Easyfairs in 2022. The company is ranked 17th in the list of the world’s leading exhibition companies.


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