Science communication policies for societal change

Science communication policies for societal change

Author: Danielle Martine Farrugia, Malta


  • Alexander Gerber – Rhine-Waal University, Germany

Governments and other research-funders are increasingly describing formally what they expect, incentivise or even require Science Communication to achieve. Such policies and frameworks, as previously established in Australia, China, or South Africa, take the form of recommendations, regulations or even federal law.

The underlying policy rationale is often to ask to which extent research and innovation respond to societal needs and expectations. Research funding programmes such as “Horizon2020“ in the EU prioritise policies that require researchers to anticipate and address societal challenges through “Responsible Research and Innovation“ (RRI). How do funders expect research to be conducted, and what are the societal priorities? Policies set the tone for the researchers’ need to engage with various stakeholders in order for their projects to be funded. To this end, how are these societal and/or other priorities implemented? What are the different processes by which countries across the globe define how different stakeholders are to be engaged with science, and how is this reflected in the documents, policies, strategies? How do these processes differ internationally? Which impact have they showed?

Danielle M. Farrugia (Science Communicator, PhD student, University of Malta, co-supervised by Prof. Alexander Gerber, Rhine-Waal University) will present common patterns identified in policy documents across different countries (e.g. Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom). Interviews were furthermore conducted based on these common themes to better understand the process of creating these documents. In her PhD she investigates the above issues as part of the “SciComPass“ project. The aim is to compare the policies/strategies/frameworks about public engagement with science and how they require research institutions to respond to societal needs. This paper explores the role of stakeholder involvement in the process of creating these policy and strategy documents and potential risks these documents may entail for e.g. lowering the variety of science communication formats.

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

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Transformation