Report on mega-drought in Chile (or how to win the hearts and minds of decision makers)
Author: Nicole Tondreau – Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2 / Master in Advanced Design, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
The long and extensive drought that has affected Chile since 2010 is an unprecedented event in the country’s history. Given this scenario, a group of social and natural scientists from the Center for Climate and Resilience Research, known as (CR)2, undertook interdisciplinary research to explain the causes and impacts of the phenomenon, which they refer to as a “mega-drought.”
Defying academic logic, (CR)2 decided to present the research carried out over almost three years by disseminating the findings in a science divulgation report aimed at decision makers and released on late 2015, rather than publishing a scientific paper in an academic journal.
The effort was a collaboration between scientists and the center’s communications unit. The report was reviewed by an editorial committee made up of a journalist, a project engineer and the director and deputy director of (CR)2. The communications staff was responsible for the graphic design, and rose to the challenge of transforming scientific graphs into understandable and attractive graphic content.
It should be noted that the first paper on the causes and impacts of the “mega-drought” appeared on late 2017, almost two years after the report was published, so the product cited by other scientists during that period was the divulgation report itself.
The report was widely covered in the media, largely because it was presented to the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, at La Moneda Palace and also due to an effective media campaign. The “mega-drought” concept was successfully instilled among members of the media and decision makers, lending support to the initial decision to present this substantial research, on a topic of political, economic and social importance for the country, in the report format.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.
Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Area of interest: Influencing policies through science communication