29-30 May 2017
European Southern Observatory
Europe/Berlin timezone

Is there a future for science communication?

30 May 2017, 09:00
Eridanus (European Southern Observatory)


European Southern Observatory

85748 Garching Germany


Dr Michel Claessens (European Commission, ITER, Brussels, Belgium)


In this keynote presentation I will report on general developments and personal experiences related to science communication. I will in particular present activities developed for ITER, which will probably be the biggest research infrastructure worldwide. As a multidisciplinary field, science communication has developed remarkably in past years. At practical level, recent evolutions concern social media, museums, communication practices and technology developments. The production of scientific content has also changed as science is now considered as a socially contextualised activity. All these changes are impacting science communication as well. Also, science communication has gained a lot in the course of the last decades, in terms of institutional recognition, business activities and professional development. But there also hurdles and threats. While opacity, in a technological society, is dangerous, achieving a genuine transparency is impossible. One can also argue that most research institutions are neither doing science communication nor developing ‘public’ relations in the proper sense. Very few R&D organisations can claim of having a science communication/PR strategy free of arrière-pensées.

Presentation Materials