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Scientific communication

"Science isn’t finished until it’s communicated”

Sir Mark Walport, U.K. Government Chief Scientific Advisor

 

Today, there is a growing demand for scientists to share their research with the general public. Popular Science Festivals are enjoying growing national and international success: Brain Awareness Week, Science Feast, Pint of Science, March for Science ... but does scientific research really need to be explained?

The answer is, undeniably, yes and for many reasons. Many believe that it is the duty of the scientist to explain to taxpayers why they are studying, measuring or trying to understand something. Why are they doing this and how could it help society? Today's society in most countries is heavily dependent on science and this dependence will only increase. Some research is good science and some is questionable. It is essential that this public debate be "well informed".

Seeing education as the first principle of freedom, Albert Jacquard (1925-2013), geneticist, has multiplied conferences and popularization writings. He considered that his duty was not only to be a scientist, but above all to be a citizen. He was among the first scientists to become aware of the perversion of science by the markets and also of the relativity of our knowledge.

Using connected objects, cooking salads with corn, taking the car on a daily basis are familiar gestures that are part of current societal controversies: artificial intelligence, electromagnetic waves, GMOs, sustainable development... Scientific research is inseparable from these debates, on one hand because it has provided the knowledge that has enabled the development of technologies and, on the other hand, because researchers continue to produce new knowledge that feeds reflection.

Another important aspect of communication is the promotion of science to middle and high schools, through fun and interactive activities that will leave their mark on participants.  This makes it possible to better orient schoolchildren towards entrepreneurship, innovation and the professions of the future because society evolves very quickly and teachers and guidance counsellors often have difficulty informing schoolchildren well, as they themselves do not know these professions. Scientists are therefore in the best position to sensitize this youth and transmit their passion for research, which is a sure value of innovation.

To impact the general public and schools effectively, scientists must be trained in scientific communication and popularization. This is part of the transferable skills that a young researcher must develop from the doctorate onwards. Having quality exchanges will also create a vital link between scientists and the general public that will greatly facilitate participatory science.

 

Hence, the first Eurodoc meeting on science in society in Strasbourg "EMSS1-Strasbourg" is an excellent opportunity for critical reflection, learning and networking for the future growth of citizen science with emphasis on the role of young researchers in the implementation of a European culture of citizen science.

 

Organisers

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