A Model For Training Scientists in Science-Society Relations
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
A recent article at the journal Science Communication reports on an innovative EU program that trained scientists in public engagement and science-society relations. Along with the Leopold Leadership Program, it is perhaps the best initiative to be developed to date and should be part of the blueprint for state-of-the-art training programs in the United States.
One of the program coordinators and authors of the article is Declan Fahy, who will be joining our faculty in the School of Communication at American University later this year. An experienced newspaper journalist, Fahy is finishing his Ph.D. at Dublin City University in Ireland, where his dissertation examines the nature and impact of celebrity scientists such as Richard Dawkins, James Lovelock, and Stephen Hawking.
Below is the abstract to the article which provides a useful summary of the program. You can read the full text here:
Can Science Communication Workshops Train Scientists for Reflexive Public Engagement?
The ESConet Experience
University College London, U.K., email@example.com
Dublin City University, Ireland, University College London, U.K.
The ESConet Team
The European Science Communication Network, between 2005 and 2008, created and delivered original communication training workshops to more than 170 researchers, primarily early-career scientists, to empower them to perform reflexive public engagement activities in various communication situations. The program designed 12 original teaching modules for science communication that not only delivered skills training, including writing for popular audiences and media interview skills, but also developed capacity in, among other areas, risk communication, communicating science in dialogue, and examining controversies within the scientific community. The workshops aimed to encourage scientists to reflect critically on the social, historical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of science.
Key Words: public engagement • dialogue • communications training • media skills • deficit model
Science Communication, Vol. 31, No. 1, 116-126 (2009)
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