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Taking stock and re-examining the role of science communication


This topic aims to better understand how results from research and scientific methodologies are communicated and perceived by citizens (taking into account age, gender, and socio-economic status), develop improved ways to measure and assess science communication, and identify good practices and policy guidelines to increase the accuracy of (and therefore trust in) science communication. It will increase knowledge about science communication at international, EU and member state levels. It will propose innovative ways to open up science and innovation broadly to society by improving the quality and effectiveness of interactions between scientists and other R&I stakeholders, the media and the public. It will examine the teaching of science communication within scientific disciplines and as a dedicated academic discipline. It will also give attention to existing incentive (and disincentive) structures for scientists and other R&I stakeholders to engage in science communication, for instance in terms of career and scientific reputation. Applicants are welcome to propose other innovative ideas in relation to the above specific challenge.

To address this specific challenge, proposals will include a multi-disciplinary team able to explore well defined communication strategies (journalists, science communicators, scientists and other R&I stakeholders, educators, enterprises, economists, civil society/citizens, legal experts, etc.). Specificities related to gender, culture, territorial context and the environment should also be considered.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 1.20 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Science and innovation are undergoing deep and fundamental changes, in particular thanks to digitalisation (e.g. social media and citizen science). Science communication, which is a discipline, an activity conducted by scientists and other R&I stakeholders, and a career path followed by journalists, informs citizens about science and innovation, opens up R&I to society, and empowers citizens to participate in activities and debate.

Two concurrent developments lead to the growing need to ensure the quality and reliability of science communication: firstly, dwindling resources in science journalism lead to reduced critical assessment and reporting of science[[See for instance]]; secondly, the rapid diffusion of open access publications and science-related news through social media increase opportunities for all citizens and civil society groups to reach large audiences about science-related issues but sometimes without the editorial oversight and fact-checking established in the traditional media.

Dissemination of the results should increase the communication of science in terms of quantity and quality, favour the opening of R&I, and the up-take of RRI. It should eventually improve the quality and effectiveness of interactions between scientists, general media and the public.