QUEST and FETFX joined forces and organized an online workshop on how emerging technologies have been presented to date, and what new and promising ways exist for science journalists to cover them.
Video recordings from the workshop are available below.
Research and Innovation often rhyme with risk and future. By gambling on research that can pave the way to future innovations and by welcoming their innate risks, science can have a long-term impact on the whole society. Horizon 2020 has a whole programme dedicated to this vision: the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), focusing on visionary, high-risk and groundbreaking science. But how to communicate high-risk research to the general public?
To shed light on this question, QUEST joined forces with FETFX, a project aiming at boosting FET research, supporting FET projects by promoting their results to diverse stakeholder groups and the general public, and strengthening the FET community’s capacity to communicate about their work and achievements.
In the beginning of November, the two projects held a joint online workshop titled “Signals from the Future: Emerging Technologies in Science Journalism”. Aim of the workshop was to discuss communication challenges of future technology and high-risk science. Innovators, policy experts, FET researchers, science journalists and science communicators gathered online in three expert panels, followed by a preview of the QUEST’s tool developed to support scientific journalists.
The first panel, moderated by the European Research Council’s former president Helga Nowotny, explored FET science communication gaps, pathways to innovation, and the importance of the European Innovation Council (EIC). “There is so much great work being done in Europe, but it needs to be communicated and built upon. It’s important to involve scientists beyond public relations when it comes to communication. They need to share their authentic experiences including their failures to provide a larger impact,” stated Nowotny.
The second panel was led by the QUEST project coordinator Alessandra Fornetti, who moderated a discussion entitled “New Tools for Communicating: New approaches and mechanisms for communicating about Future and Emerging Technologies”. Experts in science communication, data journalism and innovative approaches to communicate science, i.e. art, discussed the issue taking into account the social perspective and the impact of science on society, and the importance of metaphors in communicating science. Moreover, the panel looked at how ethical approaches can support science journalism.
Finally, the third panel, moderated by Erich Prem, focused on how Artificial Intelligence, which could be considered a perfect example of FET research, is portrayed in the media, with a lively discussion between AI experts and journalists exchanging views on the AI’s representation to the general public.
The last session was dedicated to the practical demonstration of JECT.AI, the tool dedicated to journalists writing of scientific topics. The QUEST partner Neil Maiden from CASS Business School (City, University London) showed how the tool can help journalists in tackling the complexity of science and in engaging a broader audience.