PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


A Foundation, not an afterthought
Diversifying training models to transform science communication education worldwide

Mark SarvaryCornell University. United States


  • Alexander GerberRhine-Waal University, Germany and Institute for Science & Innovation Communication (inscico)   Germany
  • Merryn McKinnonCentre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University   Australia
  • Fabien MedveckyUniversity of Otago   New Zealand
Undergraduates are no longer only consumers, but producers of scientific information and are eager to gain skills in communicating their scientific discoveries. Employees and postgraduate programs are showing an increasing interest in undergraduates with advanced communication and similarly transferable interpersonal skills. These needs have transformed the higher education curricula as science communication education is no longer reduced to a postgraduate afterthought, but is rather a foundation of undergraduate science education. Science communication training can help students understand the scientific process, become science-literate, identify the role of research and innovation in their socio-political contexts, and shape their interdisciplinary views.

This diverse international panel is bringing education professionals together to discuss how science communication has been transforming education all over the world. The panelists will showcase examples from the University of Otago in NZ, Rhine-Waal University in Germany, the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University, and Cornell University in the USA, and identify the pros and cons of embedded, stand-alone, workshop-style, interdisciplinary and other ways of teaching science communication at the undergraduate level. Results from a comprehensive empirical study on science communication degree programs will be also presented, and the audience will have the opportunity to discuss how to transform higher education effectively and systematically so we can respond to the need for well-trained science communicators early in their academic careers. The conversations will be led by two co-chairs: a science communication practitioner and a well-known science communication scholar, and this panel will offer a unique opportunity to bring perspectives together from multiple continents.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Category: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Transformation