A Model For Training Scientists in Science-Society Relations

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


Steve Miller
University College London, U.K., s.miller@ucl.ac.uk

Declan Fahy
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)
DOI: 10.1177/1075547009339048

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