Background: Since the mid‐1980's manifold and multifaceted approaches to communicate science developed as reaction to different problems between science and society. The study provides a starting point for reframing of existing and developing new projects of sustainable science communication. It was conducted on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Objective: The aim of the study was an overview and evaluation of an array of diverse science communication projects on an international level. Our interest was to show which projects were effective with regard to which audiences and aims.

Methods: In a first step international science communication projects that were developed in the past decade were described and classified. In a second step different types of science communication projects were evaluated by questioning which specific functions they were expected to achieve and which were actually achieved.

Results: Our research resulted in an empirically based typology of science communication projects which were categorized according to their self‐assigned goals. We mapped 309 science communication projects and classified them according to four main goals ‐ knowledge transfer, education, participation or science as cultural activity and entertainment ‐ or as combinations of these. We generated exemplary profiles of strengths and weaknesses of different types of science communication projects with regard to their aims.

Conclusions: On these grounds we developed recommendations to improve science communication. We did not find a panacea for science communication, but many innovative projects, some playing an important role across Europe. Two central guidelines for successful future science communication were established:

1. To use existing strengths in order to overcome existing deficits 2. To combine events and processes as events create attention, processes sustainability.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Does science communication achieve its goals?

Miriam Voss   University of Bielefeld

Simone Roedder   University of Bielefeld

Peter Weingart   University of Bielefeld

Petra Pansegrau   University of Bielefeld

Background: Since the mid‐1980's manifold and multifaceted approaches to communicate science developed as reaction to different problems between science and society. The study provides a starting point for reframing of existing and developing new projects of sustainable science communication. It was conducted on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Objective: The aim of the study was an overview and evaluation of an array of diverse science communication projects on an international level. Our interest was to show which projects were effective with regard to which audiences and aims.

Methods: In a first step international science communication projects that were developed in the past decade were described and classified. In a second step different types of science communication projects were evaluated by questioning which specific functions they were expected to achieve and which were actually achieved.

Results: Our research resulted in an empirically based typology of science communication projects which were categorized according to their self‐assigned goals. We mapped 309 science communication projects and classified them according to four main goals ‐ knowledge transfer, education, participation or science as cultural activity and entertainment ‐ or as combinations of these. We generated exemplary profiles of strengths and weaknesses of different types of science communication projects with regard to their aims.

Conclusions: On these grounds we developed recommendations to improve science communication. We did not find a panacea for science communication, but many innovative projects, some playing an important role across Europe. Two central guidelines for successful future science communication were established:

1. To use existing strengths in order to overcome existing deficits 2. To combine events and processes as events create attention, processes sustainability.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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