RETHINK encourages transformation of the science communication system

The quality of the conversation about science - traditionally the task of journalists and universities - is increasingly difficult to monitor due to digitization and democratization.

10/01/2018 | 2:38 PM

Frank Kupper, assistant professor of science communication, is conducting research with the RETHINK project on how science communication can transform itself to enable a meaningful discussion about science in society. The European research project starts on February 1, 2019 and lasts three years.

Science communication transforms
Science Communication is at a pivotal stage in its evolution. Science has become more and more an open system in recent decades, which has blurred the distinction between what is scientific and non-scientific. In addition, digitization has profoundly changed the usual communication and information flows. Digitalization and democratization have presented new opportunities to have meaningful conversations about controversial issues like climate change, vaccination or A.I., but also are also leading to tough challenges: the quality of the conversation is increasingly difficult to monitor. The RETHINK project will develop an unprecedented view on the emerging science communication landscape that reveal the barriers and inequalities that stand in the way of open and reflexive connections between science and society.

The science communication landscape mapped
The breadth of science communication is captured, with an emphasis on the currently uncharted digital sphere, such as blogs, fora and social media. The project will develop new roles, strategies and training programs for science journalists and other communicators like bloggers and social media commentators, to support and facilitate public sense-making about complex societal issues related to science. Initiating a community of inquiry and learning across seven European countries, RETHINK points the way forward to encourage a transformation of the science communication system to further the practice of open and responsible science. RETHINK is a project in collaboration with the University of Bristol, Zeppelin University Berlin, SISSA Media Lab Trieste, Ecsite Brussels and the Danish Board of Technology Copenhagen.