Public communication and social appropriation of science in Mexico

Public communication and social appropriation of science in Mexico

Author: Patricia Magana – School of Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico


  • Patricia Magana – Physics Department, School of Sciencies, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

Scientific research and public communication of science and technology (PCST) in Mexico have been historically supported with public resources and governmentally regulated through the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt).

Until 2018, Conacyt defined the social appropriation of science and technology (SAST) as “those processes carried out by users [non-scientific communities] through the exploitation, adoption and informed, or even creative, use of scientific, technological and innovation knowledge and objects”. This was differentiated from PCST, defined as all the activities and processes performed by public science communicators.

Under guidance of the current Mexican government these definitions were modified by Conacyt, equating SAST activities to PCST activities. The administration also changed the ideals and guidelines of the scientific endeavor of scientific institutions by giving more importance to the so-called “social use” of science. This had consequences for the entire scientific community, including PCST practitioners: such as changes to the application calls for funding projects and introducing SAST as a quantitative or qualitative evaluation tool. However, two years after this change it is still not clear if the PCST activities will be assessed by the SAST results alone. The aforementioned changes have led to conflicts between the government and professional science communicators.

This presentation tries to assess this issue and give new perspectives on it by reviewing how SAST and PCST are conducted in other countries and funding systems. It also seeks to point out and clarify the differences between the PCST and the SAST, a definition exercise that could help to reach a consensus between the administration and practitioners. Furthermore, it examines different approaches in fulfilling the new requirements for funding applications in order to continue PCST activities.

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

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Time