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Introduction to science communication and outreach

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Example of a basic introduction to science communication for research students

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Introduction to science communication and outreach

  1. 1. Georgina Cronin Research Support Librarian Cambridge University Libraries Introduction to science communication and outreach
  2. 2. • What is science communication? • Why should you do it? • How do you do it? • Some examples… Session overview
  3. 3. Adapted from Science Communication: a practical guide for scientists (2013) • Communication: social interaction through symbols and message systems • Science communication: popularisation of science • Scientific literacy: knowledge and understanding science facts and processes • Public understanding of science: a knowledge of science and how it applies to everyday life • Public: every person in society • Lay public: people, including other scientists, who are non-expert in a particular field Key terms
  4. 4. Adapted from Science Communication: a practical guide for scientists (2013) • Public engagement: communication and discussion with a public audience • Outreach: a meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration with parties in education, business, public and social service • Upstream engagement: discussion takes place with the public before any new scientific developments and technology become reality • Citizen science: public participation in research More key terms…
  5. 5. Potted history
  6. 6. • “Science communication” first coined in 1834 • Humphrey Davy & Michael Faraday already engaged in popularisation of science • Science communication in the UK shaped by learned institutions like the Royal Society • Royal Society was founded in 1660 • Royal Institution founded in 1779 as a research lab and delivered public demonstration lectures to skilled workers • Lectures led to the iconic RI Christmas Lectures in 1825 Early days…
  7. 7. • The RI Christmas Lectures were broadcast on the BBC in 1936 • Only stopped between 1939-1942 • In 1830, Charles Babbage remarked that British science was behind the rest of the world due to lack of public interest • Led to formation of British Science Association in 1831 and AAAS In 1848 Establishing science communication…
  8. 8. Adapted from Science Communication: a practical guide for scientists (2013) • Deficit model: where the public is seen as lacking knowledge and understanding which can only be remedied by imparting facts • Dialogue model: scientists and public in conversation Models of science communication
  9. 9. AdaptedfromScienceCommunication:apracticalguideforscientists(2013) 2010s Public engagement with Science and Technology (PEST) 1990s- 2000s Public understanding of science (PUS) 1980sScientific literacy DialogueDeficit
  10. 10. • Knowledge of basic text book facts of science • An understanding of scientific methods e.g. experimental design • An appreciation of the positive outcomes of science and technology • A rejection of superstitious beliefs Jon D. Miller (1983) What is scientific literacy?
  11. 11. AdaptedfromScienceCommunication:apracticalguideforscientists(2013) 2010s Public engagement with Science and Technology (PEST) 1990s- 2000s Public understanding of science (PUS) 1980sScientific literacy DialogueDeficit
  12. 12. • Sparked by Babbage back in the 1830s • The landmark Bodmer Report was published in 1985 • Key publication when discussing deficit models • Led to creation of multiple initiatives including the National Science and Engineering Week • Also influenced UK national curriculum making science a core subject between the ages 5 to 16 Public understanding of science (PUS)
  13. 13. AdaptedfromScienceCommunication:apracticalguideforscientists(2013) 2010s Public engagement with Science and Technology (PEST) 1990s- 2000s Public understanding of science (PUS) 1980sScientific literacy DialogueDeficit
  14. 14. • Influenced by a House of Lords Science and Society report in 2000 • Considered PUS to be outdated with its top-down approach • Emphasises two-way dialogue and conversation with the public Public engagement with Science and Technology
  15. 15. • University committed to public engagement • Last VC signed up to Manifesto for Public Engagement • Core part of many researchers’ outreach • Many opportunities to engage: Science Festival Festival of Ideas Open Cambridge The Cambridge context…
  16. 16. Why should you do science communication?
  17. 17. Share knowledge
  18. 18. Improve public understanding
  19. 19. Help combat science illiteracy
  20. 20. Improve your own skills
  21. 21. Get feedback
  22. 22. Might be a strategic requirement
  23. 23. So how do you do science communication?
  24. 24. Social media
  25. 25. Tap into existing campaigns
  26. 26. Work with the media
  27. 27. Do open days and public engagement
  28. 28. Work with schools and other groups
  29. 29. Science communication that you can do
  30. 30. Child-friendly experiment
  31. 31. Talk adapted for non-expert audience
  32. 32. Activity and/or talk for older children and adults
  33. 33. Poster or a leaflet
  34. 34. • The science communication landscape is complex and varied but at its heart is the idea of dialogue and sharing of ideas • You can do science communication for many different reasons, but sharing your knowledge with others is a fundamental motivator • There are many opportunities and ways in which you can do science communication, many of them for free! • When deciding how you’re going to communicate your science, think about what you’re going to communicate and to who • Enjoy it! Talking about science with others is fun and exciting! In summary…
  35. 35. • Think about what you want to do • Remember you will be assessed on your project • Set up some time to discuss your project with me • You will get two slots with me between June and August • Come prepared to these meetings • Coordinate as a team and maximise your time • You will present your projects at a symposium on 30th August Next steps

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