PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


How major international research organisations are coping with the new age of PCST

Michel Claessens  

As our society is increasingly confronted with major and global problems, we see as a parallel evolution an increase in the number of research projects carried out through explicit international and multidisciplinary approaches.

How multinational projects and multicultural organisations are addressing the communication challenges and the recent evolutions in the media and PCST landscapes?

With examples taken from the European Commission (which implements the European Union's Framework Programme for research), CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research, where the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012) and ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which will be the biggest fusion reactor in the world), this talk will show how these big international research organisations are coping with these challenges. How do they address cultural and linguistic issues, which are crucial when reaching out the public at large? How do they promote open science (also called science 2.0)? Are there significant differences with national projects and initiatives?

At first glance, it seems that these organisations are all encouraging their scientists to engage with the public and promote the science-society dialogue, although there are clear differences between them. However, it is also clear that these organisations are neither doing pure science communication nor developing 'public' relations in the proper sense. Informing the public is not their only motivation; they also aim at shaping and influencing the public opinion. Nevertheless, these organisations are now PCST-oriented (albeit with some delay for the European Commission and quite limited resources for the ITER Organization).

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