Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links


Dr. Jennifer Campos - The KITE Research Institute

Jennifer Campos

Dr. Jennifer Campos is a Canada Research Chair (II), Senior Scientist, and Associate Director – Academics at the KITE (Knowledge Innovation, Talent, Everywhere) Research Institute, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - University Health Network. She is also an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and the Associate Scientific Director of AGE-WELL Network Centres of Excellence.

Dr. Campos has been an enthusiastic and dedicated champion of science promotion to the public for more than 20 years. She has earned the respect of her peers and become a role model in her field while building a reputation as a leading Canadian science authority and advocate. Her contributions to science promotion have spanned audiences and focus on four intersecting domains:

  • Youth outreach through dedicated programming and direct access to researchers and research facilities
  • Advocacy efforts for under-represented groups in STEM
  • Science advocacy through local and national public media outlets (e.g., Nature of Things, Daily Planet)
  • Public education strategies that translate leading research into easy to adopt approaches that improve quality of life

Throughout her career, Dr. Campos has made it a priority to engage youth organizations and welcome school classes into research laboratories. In creating the KITE Young Innovators program alone, her science promotion activities have engaged more than 35,000 youth and their educators since 2012, and she has championed the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM by devising local and national youth-targeted events.

She is the Organizer of the KITE Women in Science exchange program, the Chair of the University Health Network IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) youth outreach committee, and a frequent speaker at events promoting women in science within Canada and internationally. She has been recognized for her science education contributions through awards such as the Contribution to Student and Professional Education: Leader Award (Toronto Rehab Institute) and the KITE Senior Scientist Mentorship and Leadership Award.

For her career-long contributions to the promotion of science and her commitment to expanding equity, diversity and inclusivity within STEM fields, Dr. Jennifer Campos is the recipient of the 2021 NSERC Awards for Science Promotion (Individual).

The Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience)

The Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience) is the recipient of the NSERC Award for Science Promotion (Organization). Since its founding in 1849, the Institute has helped shape the scientific landscape of Canada and it currently fills a critical need: to foster public engagement with science.

A common thread running through the long history of RCIScience is connecting Canadians with science. Seventy years ago, attending an “Institute” talk meant dressing up on a Saturday night and heading down to the University of Toronto to listen to an eminent scientist give a presentation. Today, you can still hear talks from eminent scientists, but right alongside them are early-career researchers on the cusp of discovery. If you’ve dressed up, it’s more likely that you’re at a tasting to explore the chemistry behind a wheel of brie or you’re attending one of their science-themed variety shows.

RCIScience is one of the few organizations that keeps its focus mainly on adult audiences. Using many types of engagement, RCIScience reaches a range of audiences, from the merely curious to the deeply knowledgeable. Different programs allow people to participate at their own pace, by attending live events, watching them later on YouTube, reading a blog or following an Instagram takeover. RCIScience provides many pathways to engagement with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The COVID-19 pandemic took this outreach to a new level. Rather than shutting down (as it did during the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1921), RCIScience turned entirely to online program delivery. While some events covered timely topics such as the COVID-19 vaccines and pandemic trends, others talked about forest fires, the future of food, and the importance of exercise for mental as well as physical health.

In the last three years alone, RCIScience has hosted 115 events featuring over 300 scientists and reaching more than two million people, both in person and online. Thanks to the help of more than 100 volunteers, most of these programs are delivered free of charge or at very low cost to encourage participation. Details on upcoming events can be found on the RCIScience website or by following @RCIScience on social media.