In today's public communication of science and technology, not only citizens need to be informed of science, but scientists must also be able to understand and empathize with their fellow citizens, and be able to engage with them in interactive communication. These are the pillars of the MSc-program ‘Science Communication’, launched at Groningen University in 2003, which converts highly specialized scientists into flexible mediators in the various interfaces of science and society: the scientists as a global citizen.

Students enter this program as a Bachelor in a single scientific discipline (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Astrophysics), and then pass through a two-year curriculum, encompassing six months of scientific research in their original discipline, twelve months of communication classes and reflective topics (e.g. scientific methods, public dialogues), and six months of optional subjects and/or an apprenticeship. Embedded in current theory and philosophy of education, communication and science communication, and with its range of ‘real-life’ assignments and master classes given by professionals from the field, this MSc-program is tailored both to the needs of our specific type of students, and to those of present-day and future PCST.

Their highly specialised Bachelor-education and their scientific Master-research supplies our students with much more knowledge and awareness of the realities of scientific labour than an average journalist or communication expert has, whilst their communicative and reflective skills are much better developed than those of regularly educated scientists. In this way, our graduates fill up a niche in society, as is established by the various work placements our students find for their apprenticeship and the varying professional careers of our first graduates.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The scientist as a global citizen

Femke L. Kramer   Faculty of Arts, and 2 Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Henk A.J. Mulder   University of Groningen, The Netherlands

In today's public communication of science and technology, not only citizens need to be informed of science, but scientists must also be able to understand and empathize with their fellow citizens, and be able to engage with them in interactive communication. These are the pillars of the MSc-program ‘Science Communication’, launched at Groningen University in 2003, which converts highly specialized scientists into flexible mediators in the various interfaces of science and society: the scientists as a global citizen.

Students enter this program as a Bachelor in a single scientific discipline (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Astrophysics), and then pass through a two-year curriculum, encompassing six months of scientific research in their original discipline, twelve months of communication classes and reflective topics (e.g. scientific methods, public dialogues), and six months of optional subjects and/or an apprenticeship. Embedded in current theory and philosophy of education, communication and science communication, and with its range of ‘real-life’ assignments and master classes given by professionals from the field, this MSc-program is tailored both to the needs of our specific type of students, and to those of present-day and future PCST.

Their highly specialised Bachelor-education and their scientific Master-research supplies our students with much more knowledge and awareness of the realities of scientific labour than an average journalist or communication expert has, whilst their communicative and reflective skills are much better developed than those of regularly educated scientists. In this way, our graduates fill up a niche in society, as is established by the various work placements our students find for their apprenticeship and the varying professional careers of our first graduates.

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