PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Science communication, the Chilean way

Sofía Otero  

The National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) its an advisory body to the Chilean Presidency, whose mission is to promote human capital training and to develop and disseminate scientific and technological research. One of its main research funds is called Fondecyt, a program that distributes around US$107 million each year for almost 600 individual science research proposals that will be developed over three years. The application form for these projects includes an outreach proposal for the researcher's plan, but this proposal is not compulsory to fill in, and it also does not add any extra points for the final project evaluation. In summary, it is an extra job that does not report greater benefits in terms of greater chances to win the fund. Most CONICYT programs do stipulate in their regulations that a percentage of the funds must be invested in outreach efforts, so, do researchers bother to outreach when their financier does not obligate them to do so like in the Fondecyt program? Our proposed presentation contains an analysis of the outreach proposals from the awarded Fondecyt projects between 2012-2014, in terms of how many researchers decided to present an outreach proposal on their application forms; what kind of activities or products were proposed; and type of audience they targeted. The analysis reveals that scientists from the Fondecyt program mostly prefer traditional outreach activities such as talks and press releases, maintaining vertical relations with their audiences (deficit model), and selecting school students as their favorite public along with the less specific "general public".

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