Author: Eva Kalmar – Science Education & Communication, TU Delft. Netherlands

Science Communication has shifted from decreasing knowledge deficit to engage and initiate discussions with the public about, for example, vaccination denial or fear from GMOs. These problems are complex, and current public engagement practices are tackling them only from a single perspective, leaving complexity and some stakeholders out of the picture. Co-design is frequently used to solve complex problems and to engage different stakeholders actively, but not in Science Communication. Co-design is a process in which users and other stakeholders are involved in some phases of design to create a product, service or experience together.

SEED, a 2-day-long co-creation think tank was organised around the topic of Blockchain for Science. The aim of SEED was to create multidisciplinary teams out of stakeholders to solve critical issues of the scientific life cycle. Librarians, Blockchain developers, researchers from natural and social sciences were sitting together with lawyers, grant officers and patent officers to formulate concrete problems and to come up with Blockchain-based solutions. Six teams were working on the issues, and at the end of the sessions, they have voted for the best project which was developed to a minimal viable product.

Qualitative analysis of team processes during the think tank show that co-design helped the freshly formed multistakeholder teams in initiating effective discussions in most cases. Analyzing the interrelations of the stakeholders and understanding other stakeholders’ perspectives helped the deeper understanding of the problems. Those teams, which discussed fundamental issues standing behind the problems more were able to come up with game-changing and creative solutions, compared to those in which participants had a fixed mindset.

Based on our experiences, we argue that co-design has the potential to initiate effective discussions between different stakeholders of science communication-related complex problems, leading to a deeper understanding of the problems and to more successful solutions.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Time

Author: Eva Kalmar – Science Education & Communication, TU Delft, The Netherlands

Collaboration has become the most supported form of scientific research, funding agencies prefer transdisciplinary international collaborations. Today, scientific inquiry is almost unimaginable without research groups from different scientific domains working together due to the growth of knowledge, high specialization of scientific domains and quickly changing technology. The scientific problems to be solved are complex in nature as are the social aspects of these challenges. The formation of transdisciplinary coalitions may sounds straightforward since we all tend to think that we know what collaboration is or means, but the success of these alliances is not in all cases guaranteed as well as the deployment of science communication processes.

The factors determining the success and effectiveness of transdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations are spanning across different (personal, interpersonal, organizational, technological and socio-political) levels, making the management of these kinds of projects an ill-defined and complex problem. These collaborations create new expectations, alter roles and shift communication practices for its members. The collaborating partners have to adjust to new social, organizational and management settings, and adopt to the new collaboration-facilitating technologies. Organizations that lack the ability of and adaptive culture of sharing and collaborating have a large potential to resist to these adjustments and adaptation processes, and limit the effectiveness of the collaboration as a whole.

We propose, that next to the technology readiness levels, collaboration readiness levels of research teams, organizations or companies can be measured and needs to be used within innovation processes. In this Idea in progress session, I would like to present our preliminary results of the Science Communication research within the Dutch Blockchain Coalition. A clear example of business to business type Science Communication happening in an uncertain world of an uncertain technology, performed by uncertain engineers, business developers and policy makers in opaque collaboration processes.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Idea in progress
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices