Universities’ PR professionals are key actors in the field of science communication education. We want to hear from them as we try to understand the current trends in the sector.
They interview researchers, produce compelling videos, talk with editors on a daily basis, engage young communities on social media, and launch visibility campaigns. They are not science journalists, nor YouTubers or activists. They are publicists, press officers, public relations specialists and other communicators working within all European universities.
We at QUEST think universities’ communicators deserve to be engaged and heard when talking about science communication because they work in the porous membrane between the academia, where science and technology progress, and the rest of the world. In other words, they are a key actor in the cultural phenomenon of science communication.
These communicators work shoulder to shoulder with scientists, often giving them advice on how to deal with activities ranging from interviews to kids labs.
As we map science communication education, we are also seeing how public information officers are committed not only to giving advice to the researchers they work with, but also to training and organising workshops for them.
The public out there in the “real world” trusts scientists: teaching scholars to communicate well becomes part of the strategy to reach objectives such as good science communication as well as good institutional reputation. Training is an important tool to step up communication efforts, as Jacopo Pasotti wrote in an earlier blog post.
To better explore these trends, we engaged the European Association of Communication Professionals in Higher Education a network of hundreds of communicators from 24 countries. The association’s board presented QUEST during their annual conference in Poznan, Poland, and invited the members to contribute to our research though our survey for communicators working in universities and research institutes.
If you are a university or research centre communicator, please consider contributing to the collection of ideas and practices – click here to access the survey.
We will discuss preliminary results in Venice, on October 1st during a one-day event called “Train the Scientist!”. The event, open to the public, is organized within Ca’ Foscari University’s “Research Communication Week”, in collaboration with EUPRIO. The event is endorsed by ProESOF 2020 – Towards Trieste 2020 Euroscience Open Forum.
The morning will opened by a keynote by Brian Trench, President of Public Communication of Science and Technology network (PCST), followed by a roundtable with speakers from a range of organisations, including CERN, Columbia University, ETH-Rat, and Sense about Science. A co-creation workshop involving EUPRIO’s members will be run during the afternoon.
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