10 December 2018
Through the Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation, Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD), an initiative of German science research organisations, offers an opportunity for science communicators to exchange ideas and expertise. Since 2008, the Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation has offered professionals in the field an overview of recent trends and strategies in science communication. The forum is an annual event hosted by a different city each year.
Representatives of universities, research institutions, cities and municipalities, science centres, labs for schools science festivals and companies that conduct research are invited. The Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation is targeted at scientists, members of marketing and communications departments, science journalists, teachers, and all others with an interest in science communication.
Local partners and thematic focus 2018
The 11th Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation took place in Bonn, Germany from 7 – 9 November 2018. More than 500 participants from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK came to the venue at the University of Bonn. Wissenschaft im Dialog organises the conference every year in a different city together with local cooperation partners. This year, these were the city of Bonn and the University of Bonn, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2018. Through this cooperation, the Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation was hosted at a place of re- search and teaching – which fitted the thematic focus “Scientists in the focus of science communication”. Keynote speakers and speakers for themed sessions were invited by the program com- mittee, while the primary components of the conference programme were contributions submitted via a thematically open call for proposals. It was possible to submit proposals in German and in English.
Highlights in the programme were the keynotes of Prof Dr Julika Griem, Vice President of the German Research Foundation and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanitieswith her Lecture “Unreasonable demands. Science Communication and its Contradictions” and Prof Dr Turi King, scientist and science communicator from the University of Leicester with hertalk “King Richard III: The Resolution of a 500 Year Old Cold case”.
Another highlight was the keynote session “No joke: Humor can impart knowledge” by Dr Eckart von Hirschhausen, a very popular doctor, performer and author in Germany, who is committed to the communication topics such as vaccinations and organ donation. In his cabaret programmes, he thematises these topics in a humorous way to help reduce the audience’s fears and uncertainties. His performances have been accompanied and examined by scientists. He presented this co-operation and the results of the studies in the context of a keynote session together with scientists who have worked with him.
Many intensive discussions followed the session “The Judgement – Science Communication in Court”. In this session – a fictional court hearing – science communication was on trial. The court raised questions such as: Is science communication a waste of money? Or is it essential for an enlightened social discourse? And does communication contribute to scientific success?
English Sessions and Project Presentations
On one of the three conference days an English-language stream of sessions, workshops and project presentations with international speakers formed part of the programme. Many exciting pro- ject presentations and sessions on topics such as “What are the Challenges and Opportunities Around Scientists as Communicators?”, “How Much Engagement With Science and Research Does the Public Want?” and “Enabling Researchers to Engage With the Public – The Embedding of Public Engagement in HEI” were part of the English-language programme.
Networking, evening events and exhibitors’ area
At two evening events, the conference participants had further opportunities for discussions and exchanges. In the exhibitors’ area, where numerous institutions and companies presented themselves, there was another chance to make contacts. Even the breaks at the conference offered plenty of opportunities for the participants to expand their network and to exchange with other science communicators.
Save the Date: Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation 2019
The 12th Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation will take place from 18 – 20 November 2019 in Essen at the Congress Center West.The local supporters are the City of Essen, the Essen Economic Development Agency and the initiative Science City Essen.
The call for proposals will be open from early March 2019 to mid April 2019 on www.forum-wissenschaftskommunikation.de. Proposals are welcome in German and English.
The 11th Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation took place at the University of Bonn. Credit: Gesine Born / WiD