In Australia, science does not have popularity with the community or governments. Benefits from the science knowledge base are poorly encapsulated with much information remaining on the shelf. Industry has lagged in funding R&D and government funding has been declining. Hence communication energies have been sidetracked, and science innovation leading to competitive economic development and improvement in environment and standards of living has slowed.

Most science knowledge affecting peoples’ lives is developed in large substantially government funded organisations such as universities and science R&D organisations. While each has active communication activities, these tend to resemble slick, hard sell promotions of the organisation, its people, facilities and programs in one or two way communication flows. World’s best science and the publish or perish syndrome, whilst laudible, has dominated the culture.

In 1991, the Australian government launched the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program to achieve a major shift in the R&D culture. Sought was a public that better understood and supported science, and an industry culture much more heavily involved in science and technology development and innovation for public and commercial benefit.

Our experience with CRCs over seven years has shown a major shift in culture to effectice communication and education actions. A market driven strategy now predominates with a focus on the client in an equal experiential learning environment. S&T communication now better uses social skills in which the scientists engage in a mutual and sharing process in partnerships and relationships for new shared visions. The CRCs that have done this best employ professional communications specialists and have budgets up to 25% of expenditure for communications objectives.

Examples will be presented to substantiate better practice in communication. Some of these include:
New R&D institutional culture
Communication plans as an integral component of R&D
multidisciplinary teams
client centred and marketing approach
scientist training in a range of communications skills
client participation
impact assessments

In public good CRCs, communication strategies using community groups and full use of credible industry champions to promote S&T has been rewarding. The focus is now more on people and the way in which their lives have been affected by science rather than on the science itself.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communication for industry innovation

Mark Seeliger   Cooperative Research Centre for Soil & Land Management, Australia

In Australia, science does not have popularity with the community or governments. Benefits from the science knowledge base are poorly encapsulated with much information remaining on the shelf. Industry has lagged in funding R&D and government funding has been declining. Hence communication energies have been sidetracked, and science innovation leading to competitive economic development and improvement in environment and standards of living has slowed.

Most science knowledge affecting peoples’ lives is developed in large substantially government funded organisations such as universities and science R&D organisations. While each has active communication activities, these tend to resemble slick, hard sell promotions of the organisation, its people, facilities and programs in one or two way communication flows. World’s best science and the publish or perish syndrome, whilst laudible, has dominated the culture.

In 1991, the Australian government launched the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program to achieve a major shift in the R&D culture. Sought was a public that better understood and supported science, and an industry culture much more heavily involved in science and technology development and innovation for public and commercial benefit.

Our experience with CRCs over seven years has shown a major shift in culture to effectice communication and education actions. A market driven strategy now predominates with a focus on the client in an equal experiential learning environment. S&T communication now better uses social skills in which the scientists engage in a mutual and sharing process in partnerships and relationships for new shared visions. The CRCs that have done this best employ professional communications specialists and have budgets up to 25% of expenditure for communications objectives.

Examples will be presented to substantiate better practice in communication. Some of these include:
New R&D institutional culture
Communication plans as an integral component of R&D
multidisciplinary teams
client centred and marketing approach
scientist training in a range of communications skills
client participation
impact assessments

In public good CRCs, communication strategies using community groups and full use of credible industry champions to promote S&T has been rewarding. The focus is now more on people and the way in which their lives have been affected by science rather than on the science itself.

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