A young academy is an organization that brings together a nation’s top academics at the early- and mid-career stage. These academies are usually affiliated with a senior science society or academy, and their members are chosen on the basis of demonstrated research excellence and a commitment to working with and for communities beyond the academy.
There are now more than 40 worldwide, including our own Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and their membership cuts across disciplinary boundaries. Young academy members are advocates for change and tend to be motivated by a desire to play active roles in tackling the world’s most urgent challenges. There is a shared belief in freedom and responsibility in science and that the inclusion of diverse voices underpins a healthy global research ecosystem.
Science diplomacy is a major focus for young academies, as they see national, regional, and worldwide collaboration as essential to societal progress. It makes sense that they would come together to support colleagues under threat. Today, the threats to research and artistic expression on account of war, violence, disinformation, and exclusion are alarming in their breadth. Young Academies are mobilizing to ensure that research continues.
In November 2022, RSC launched the ARDAA program – At-Risk and Displaced Academics and Artists. It embodies the principle of inclusive excellence and is an act of grassroots science diplomacy.
ARDAA’s three components are membership, mentorship, and a “Cracking Canadian Academia” in-person workshop. This structure ensures that these exceptionally talented scholars displaced to Canada receive the support and recognition they deserve. It also provides direct links to Canada’s research and practice leaders—those best-positioned to offer strategic career and discipline advice.
ARDAA took two years to build and has benefitted from the unwavering support of the RSC’s College members and fellows. It has been driven by the dedication and conviction of the ARDAA team—a group of RSC College members who stepped up to run it—and it has been integrated into the RSC’s new strategic plan. ARDAA follows in the footsteps of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland’s, At-Risk and Academic Refugee membership program (established in 2016), and the Global Young Academy’s At-Risk Scholar Initiative (established in 2017).
Guiding ARDAA’s development has been the core principle of leaving no one behind. In establishing this program, the RSC’s College has confirmed its commitment to protecting the integrity of research and those who undertake it. If you would like more information on how your academy or professional society can set up a similar program, please get in touch.
– S. Karly Kehoe, Karly.Kehoe@smu.ca
Past president and ARDAA founder and lead | Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists