Research meets practice – Outcomes of the Bellagio meeting

Research meets practice – Outcomes of the Bellagio meeting

Author: Toss Gascoigne – Australian National University, Australia

Peter Broks – Rhine-Waal University
Massimiano Bucchi – Università di Trento
Michelle Riedlinger – University of the Fraser Valley
Maarten van de Sanden – Delft University of Technology

In November this year, 22 international experts participated in an intensive 3-day conference at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Centre at Bellagio, Italy. After a period of rapid expansion, science communication has arrived at something of a crossroads. Where to next? The aim of the conference was to provide a fresh focus.

How can researchers and practitioners work more closely and effectively, with a greater appreciation for the problems that both face?

Two weeks earlier, Massimiano Bucchi had convened a meeting in Trento with a similarly-ambitious agenda. He invited leading scholars to imagine and reflect upon the future scenarios of Science in Society, discussing the main trends and challenges for research, publishing, science communication and public engagement.

This roundtable will hear a lively conversation from 4 people involved in the meetings. Did they discover solutions? What problems were identified?

Science communicators deal with the practice and the theory of engaging governments, decision-makers and various publics in using, applying and generating scientific knowledge.

How can the various publics be engaged? What are the most effective ways to get them interested and involved in the new ideas?

There is also a growing challenge of public resistance to experts and their advice. We live in a world where ‘alternative facts’ and confirmation bias may determine the direction of public discourse and policy actions.

Discussions of post-truth and quality of science communication are often, more or less explicitly, coupled with speculations about declining trust in science per se, mistrust of scientists and their expertise, and even anti-science attitudes.

How then should science communicators act? What strategies should they employ to encourage rational consideration of significant issues, leading to appropriate policy responses?

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

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice