Listen, Engage, Connect: Explore The Science Communication Arena

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WHO IS THE COURSE FOR?

Bachelor and Master's students, Ph.D. candidates, as well as junior professionals from all walks of life who are interested in science communication.

ABSTRACT

The Summer School "Listen, Engage, Connect: Explore The Science Communication Arena" aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the key principles and strategies of science communication in the current global context.

The program will cover a range of topics, including writing and storytelling for a lay audience, curating dialogues for impact, navigating fake news and alternative facts, risk communication and community engagement, the relationship between science and society, the neural basis of decision-making and strategies for building strong public relations between politics and academic institutions.

The course will be led by some of the leading experts in the field of science communication, including Pulitzer Prize winner Prof. Deborah Blum, Dr. Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the World Health Organization, Dr. Ana Godinho, Head of Communication at CERN, and other knowledgeable experts.

 

Module 1: Science Communication Writing and Storytelling will focus on the art of communicating science to a lay audience through effective writing and storytelling techniques. The module will cover the nuances of writing for non-experts, effective ways of conveying complex scientific concepts and the importance of editorial independence in science communication.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Writing for a lay audience: Participants will learn about the key principles of science writing for a general audience, including how to make scientific concepts accessible and engaging to non-experts.
  • Storytelling in science communication: Participants will learn how to use storytelling techniques to convey scientific information in a compelling and memorable way.
  • The importance of editorial independence: Participants will learn about the importance of editorial independence in science communication, and how to ensure that scientific information is accurately and objectively communicated to the public.
  • Writing for different platforms: Participants will learn how to write for different platforms such as print, digital, and social media and how to adapt their writing style and message to different audiences.

Speakers:

Prof. Laura Bowater - University of East Anglia. Chair in Microbiology Education and Engagement and Associate Dean for Enterprise and Engagement

Prof. Deborah Blum - Knight Science Journalism Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Director of the Knight Science Journalism Program and Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Undark Online Magazine. Scientific journalist and Book writer

Prof. Gilbert Greub - Director of the Institute of Microbiology of the University Hospital of Lausanne (Switzerland). Chef de Service and head of medical microbiology at the University Hospital of Lausanne

 

Module 2: Building a Community to Foster Science Education will explore strategies for building a community that supports and promotes science education. The module will focus on curating dialogues for impact, democratizing access to science education, and encouraging fact-based decision making.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Curating dialogues for impact: Participants will learn about the strategies for curating dialogues that encourage the public to engage with science and to support science education.
  • Democratizing science education: Participants will learn about ways to make science education accessible to all and how to eliminate barriers to access science education.
  • Fact-based decision making: Participants will learn about the importance of evidence-based decision making in science and how to encourage the public to make informed decisions based on scientific evidence.
  • The endeavors of Scientix: Participants will learn about the activities of the European platform for science education and communication, Scientix, and the role that it plays in fostering science education and communication in Europe.

Speakers:

Jacques Von LunenEuropean Schoolnet, Communications Officer and Coordinator

 

Module 3: Navigating Fake News and Alternative Facts will equip participants with the tools and strategies needed to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of misinformation and alternative facts, and to make fact-based decisions. The module will cover strategies for investigating pseudoscience and understanding the psychology behind the spread of fake news, and the best practices for promoting fact-based decision making in the face of misinformation.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Investigating pseudoscience: Participants will learn about the strategies for identifying and addressing pseudoscience and how to separate scientific facts from fiction.
  • Psychology and fake news: Participants will learn about the psychological factors that contribute to the spread of fake news and how to counter them.
  • Fact-based decision making: Participants will learn about the importance of evidence-based decision making in science and how to encourage the public to make informed decisions based on scientific evidence.
  • Countering misinformation on social media: Participants will learn about the strategies for engaging with the public on social media, how to use social media to open dialogues about misinformation and how to build trust with the public through social media.

Speakers:

Dr. John Cook - Senior Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Roberta Villa - Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Subject matter expert, Social media and general media broadcaster.

Prof. Massimo Polidoro - C.I.C.A.P. (Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences), Co-founder and General Secretary, Author, Lecturer, Social media and TV broadcaster

 

Module 4: Risk Communication and Community Engagement will focus on the principles and strategies of risk communication and community engagement in face of disrupting events as earthquakes and pandemics. The module will cover emergency risk communication, risk and crisis communication, and public engagement theory.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Emergency risk communication: Participants will learn about the principles and strategies of emergency risk communication, including how to effectively convey information to the public in emergency situations.
  • Risk & Crisis communication: Participants will learn about the strategies for effective risk and crisis communication and how to build trust with the public.
  • Public engagement theory: Participants will learn about the theories of public engagement and the role that community engagement plays in the context of risk and crisis communication.

Speakers:

Dr. Margaret Harris - World Health Organization. Public Health Doctor, WHO/OMS spokesperson

Prof. Iain Stewart - University of Plymouth, Royal Scientific Society in Jordan UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society, Professor, Mainstream television broadcaster

 

Module 5: Science and Society will delve into the dynamic relationship between science and society, examining ways to foster meaningful dialogues and cooperation on scicomm projects. The module will focus on engaging with science and technology to set up meaningful dialogues and cooperation in science communication projects.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Engage with science and technology: Participants will learn about the strategies for engaging with science and technology and fostering public understanding and engagement with science.
  • Science communication projects cooperation: Participants will learn about the importance of cooperation in science communication projects, and the role of different stakeholders, such as scientists, science communicators, policymakers, and the public in these projects.
  • CERN's communication strategy: Participants will learn about the communication strategy of CERN and the head of communication of CERN Dr. Ana Godinho will share her experience and insights on science communication.
  • Swiss platform "Science et cité" initiatives: Participants will learn about the initiatives of the Swiss platform "Science et cité" and the role of Dr. Philipp Burkard in fostering science communication and dialogue between scientists and the public.

Speakers:

Dr. Ana GodinhoCERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, Head of Communications and Outreach

Dr. Philipp BurkardDirector, Science et Cité

 

Module 6: Decision Making and Public Relations will explore the neural basis of decision making under risk and combines theoretical and experimental approaches from neuroscience, financial economics, and psychology. It will also examine the public relations between politics and academic institutions and the importance of fostering trust and transparency between these entities for effective decision making.

The module will cover several topics, including:

  • Neural basis of decision making: Participants will learn about the neural basis of decision making under risk, including the impact of cognitive and emotional factors on decision making.
  • Public relations between politics and academic institutions: Participants will learn about the importance of fostering trust and transparency between politics and academic institutions, and the strategies for building strong public relations between these entities.
  • Effectively communicate the value of academic research to decision-makers :  Additionally, the topic will cover how academic institutions can use advocacy to influence public policy and funding decisions, and how to navigate the political environment when communicating science to the public.

Speakers :

Prof. Kerstin PreuschoffUniversity of Geneva, Associate Professor of Neurofinance

Anne LauferUniversity of Geneva, Head of Public Affairs Unit

Throughout the Summer School, participants will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through interactive activities, case studies, and group discussions. They will also have the opportunity to network with leading experts and other participants from diverse backgrounds. By the end of the program, participants will have a comprehensive understanding of the key principles and strategies of science communication, and will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively communicate science to a lay audience.

 

Please note that it is the student’s own responsibility to validate this course for credit at their home university prior to the summer school, as specified in our Terms & Conditions.

Junior Professionals: CHF 1,100

External students (*): CHF 900

UNIGE students (*): CHF 250

(*) Bachelor and master’s degree-seeking students and Ph.D. candidates only. The tuition fees for lifelong learning students are subject to employment status.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15 April 2024

Note: No course-housing packages are available for this course.

Course directors:

Massimo Caine

Lecturer, Communication officer, Faculty of Science, Dean’s office, UNIGE

Prof. Christoph Renner

Vice-Dean, Professor, Department of Quantum Matter Physics, Faculty of Science, UNIGE

Speakers :

TBD

 

 

Schedule for the 2024 edition coming soon...

Download 2023 Schedule

Viviana Nastase, University of Geneva, Switzerland - 2023 Edition

Thank you very much for organizing this most wonderful and eye-opening summer school! I loved it. I thought I knew what science communication was and what it entailed. It turns out I knew a very small part of it. I now know much more - including the interplay between the communicator, the intended audience, the circumstances and the medium of communication - thanks to this course and the excellent speakers you selected. The experience was made even better by my colleagues in the course, all creative in so many different ways!


Johanna Lepland, University of Bergen, Norway - 2022 Edition

Last week I had the pleasure to attend a course at the University of Geneva titled "Science Communication in the Post-Covid19 Era". I had the most amazing time learning about how to present science to lay audiences, how to navigate a world full of misinformation, and how to facilitate productive conversations about science and society.
Thank you to Geneva Summer Schools for hosting this course, to the absolutely incredible presenters, my fantastic classmates, and my wonderful friend and colleague Camilla for an unforgettable week.
Lastly, thank you to Olsens legat and University of Bergen for giving us the opportunity to keep learning - can't wait to put it into practice!


Elisabeth Güllering, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, Germany - 2022 Edition

This week I had the opportunity to attend the Geneva Summer Schools, University of Geneva, participating in the course Science Communication in the Post-Covid-19 Era.

It was a pleasure listening to and learning from brilliant lecturers such as Prof. Deborah Blum, Alice Hazelton, Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky, Dr Roberta Villa, Dr Philipp Burkard, Dr Ana Godinho (CERN) and Dr Margaret Harris (World Health Organization).
I have learned a lot, and I can´t wait to put that into practice.

It was an excellent programme put together by the University of Geneva!

Many thanks to my supervisor Berglind Fridriks and the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law for encouraging me in lifelong learning.