Foto: © Daniel Sadrowski/Research Academy Ruhr
This year’s ‚Summer Evening‘ of the Research Academy Ruhr (RAR) took place on June 28. In the vegan restaurant „Rote Bete“ of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, a top-class panel discussed various aspects of science communication. The discussion was titled „Science Communication, Social Media & Outreach Activities: Why, How & Sharing Experiences for Postdocs“.
The GYF working group ‚Applied Science Communication‘ was invited to plan and host the discussion, as its members work on this topic in the Global Young Faculty. The working group studies the impact of different formats of science communication on different target groups. The results will later help scientists to make informed decisions about their choice of communication formats.
RAR Speaker Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein introduced the event, and Dr. Maximilian Krug, member of the GYF working group ‚Applied Science Communication‘ and communication scientist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, moderated the panel.
Participants in the discussion were
- Jun.-Prof. Dr. Malte Elson, behavioral psychologist and assistant professor of Psychology of Human Technology Interaction at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, co-blogger at the meta science blog “The 100% CI”, engaging in science communication on Twitter (@maltoesermalte, @the100ci)
- Dr. Stéphane Kenmoe, theoretical physicist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, sciencepreneur, producing scientific movies for the African General Public, e.g., the series ‘’Science in the City’’ in Cameroon.
- Dr. Véronique Sina, gender-media and Jewish cultural studies researcher, deputy professorship for „Media public sphere and media actors with particular emphasis on gender“ at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, communicating her research in podcast interviews and on Twitter (@vesin9)
- Dr. Sebastian Tacke, physicist, project group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, participated in the campaign #mymachineandme, engaging in science communication on Twitter (@TackeSebastian) and participatory formats (open day, Dortmund.Live)
„Science communication is a calling. Sometimes it’s not easy to translate science for the public. But it’s very important that someone does it.“ (Stéphane Kenmoe)
The discussion focused on the following topics:
- Goals and motivations for engaging in science communication, social media, or outreach activities.
- Impact of science communication activities on one’s research and their contribution to the reputation and standing of one’s research.
- Different approaches to publishing research results, using social media, or sharing research results with non-specialists, and experiences with different media.
- How to manage time, resources, and conditions for publishing research results.
„It’s more honest when you like what you are doing.“ (Sebastian Tacke)
The participants discussed these topics in an engaged and detailed manner. In the end, the following insights can be summarized:
- Science communication is not „shouting into the void“, but it should communicate scientific knowledge and scientific principles.
- Science communication has different target groups (inter- and intradisciplinary, general and specific public), all of which can be reached with different formats
- Science communication methods are diverse: social media (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook), podcasts, interviews, science fiction, open houses, etc. The important thing is to choose the format you feel comfortable with.
- Science communication is time consuming and often not funded. Therefore, science communication tends to happen on the side when you can’t focus on current tasks. How much time and energy someone invests in science communication varies and depends on personal motivation
- Science communication is not about lecturing the public. It is about giving them insights into current scientific discourse that may be relevant to their lives. At its best, science communication is an interaction and collaboration with the public.
- Not every result is relevant to the public. Only results that are truly interesting should be part of science communication. It is important not to exaggerate the importance of one’s results.
„When you think you have found a good length for your communication, take half of it. Then you come out with a good length.“ (Malte Elson)
After the panel discussion, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists. The entertaining evening ended with a shared dinner and good conversation.
MERCUR and the Global Young Faculty would like to thank all participants for the opportunity to collaborate with the Research Academy Ruhr, especially RAR Speaker Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein, RAR Coordinator Dr. Nicole Sprafke, RAR Marketing Manager Anna Thelen and Dr. Ursula Justus from the RUB Research School. Conclusion for a successful evening: It was worth it, gladly again!
„Be brave to try science communication for yourself and see what comes out of it.“ (Véronique Sina)
Veröffentlicht am 1.7.2022