Pre-PCST 2023 webinar: Creating Common Ground – Exploring the VOICE

Webinar date: 17 November 2022

Next year’s PCST Conference will be taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands from 12 to 14 April 2023. As a lead up to the conference next year we have planned three online events, covering different topics related to the main theme of the conference, which is ‘Creating common ground’. Under this theme we have identified five sub-themes: Values, Openness, Inclusivity, Collaboration and Expertise (forming the acronym ‘VOICE’).

In this, the first of the three pre-events, we focused on the ‘VOICE’ sub-themes to set the scene and highlight why we should consider them when thinking about creating common ground within science communication.

Our international speakers covered one sub-theme each.

Sherry Seethaler from the University of California San Diego, US, will focus on Values.
Sherry Seethaler teaches research communication and directs education initiatives at the University of California, San Diego, and was the Science Questions Answered columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune for more than seven years.  Her books Lies, Damned Lies and Science: How to Sort Through the Noise Around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies (FT Press) and Curious Folks Ask 1 & 2 (FT Press), have been translated into several languages.  Her forthcoming book, Beyond the Sage on the Stage (University of Toronto Press), is a guide to developing the knowledge, skills and habits of mind to communicate effectively about complex issues in challenging times.  Her background is in the physical sciences (B.Sc. in chemistry and biochemistry, University of Toronto), life sciences (M.S. and M. Phil. in neurobiology, Yale University) and learning sciences (Ph.D. in science education, University of California, Berkeley).

Nishant Chakravorty from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India, will focus on Openness.
Dr. Chakravorty (Associate Professor, IIT Kharagpur) is a physician-scientist by training and leads the Regenerative Medicine lab at School of Medical Science and Technology, IIT Kharagpur.  He gained his PhD from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and his research interests involve utilization of the concepts of cellular and molecular biology, biomaterials and tissue engineering to study human pathophysiological conditions. He is an Editorial Board member of the journals, Molecular Biology Reports, PLOSONE and Frontiers in Medical Technology, and also serves as a reviewer for several international journals. Dr. Chakravorty is a National Core Committee Member of Indian National Young Academy of Sciences (INYAS) and is an elected Member of Royal Society of Biology, UK. Dr. Chakravorty is a strong supporter of the Open Science movement, which should not be confused with Open Access movement. Recently he has co-authored a manuscript entitled, “Open Science: Challenges, Possible Solutions and the Way Forward” that has been published in Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy. He has also been instrumental in conceptualizing and coordinating a thesis presentation competition called “Saransh” for PhD students in India. The annual event is organized by the Indian National Young Academy of Sciences (INYAS) with an aim to provide a platform to PhD students of India to present their work to the society at large.

Rokia Ballo from University College London and Science London, UK, will focus on Inclusiveness.
Rokia (she/her) is a PhD researcher of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London . Her work brings key concepts from STS and studies of science advice together with Black feminist and (post)intersectional theory to explore the relationship between science advice for policy, social inequalities and publics in the UK. She has published work interrogating the use of modelling during the pandemic and participated in cross-national comparative studies of expert and political responses to Covid-19. Rokia is also co-chair of Science London, a voluntary organisation who host events and create resources to support scientists/science communicators to employ equitable practice in their work. In 2021 she collaborated with Falling Walls Engage to develop a perspective review which offered an introduction to academic perspectives on the inclusive science engagement landscape and an overview of five international case-studies of exemplary inclusive practice.

Éva Kalmár from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, will focus on Collaboration.
As a biologist and a science communication professional, I am interested in the communication processes embedded in scientific or technology-related collaborations. 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. Although the formation of transdisciplinary coalitions may sounds straightforward since we all tend to think that we know what collaboration is or means, the success of these alliances is not in all cases guaranteed as well as the deployment of science communication processes. I think, 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. I am also interested in the ideas represented in the infrastructure school of Open Science movement.

Harry Collins from Cardiff University, Wales, will focus on Expertise.
Harry Collins is Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University. He is an elected Fellow of the British Academy and winner of the Bernal prize for social studies of science. His c25 books cover, among other things, sociology of scientific knowledge, artificial intelligence, the nature of expertise, tacit knowledge, and technology in sport. His contemporaneous study of the detection of gravitational waves has been continuing since 1972 and he has written four books and many papers on the topic. He is currently looking at the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on science due to the ending of face-to-face conferences and workshops and on the role of science in safeguarding democracy.


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