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November 2022

GlobalSCAPE developing open access workshop materials for scicomm practitioners

By Project news, Science communication

GlobalSCAPE develops workshop materials dedicated to scicomm practitioners. Our project partner Jon Chase, from Leiden University, has spent the past months working on this material with the aim to make it globally relevant and applicable in different local contexts. Today, he tells us more about this process.

Logo of the University of Leiden
Jon, can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your role in GlobalSCAPE?

I’m a science communicator, author and science rapper who is currently working at Leiden University, Netherlands on GlobalSCAPE. I’ve spent fifteen years as a science communicator, interacting with a wide range of audiences and have co-authored a number of popular science books, including The Science of Star Wars and The Science of Jurassic World. I’ve also presented and talked about science and technology on numerous television and YouTube channels. In 2017 I was awarded the UK’s Josh Award in Science Communication.

For GlobalSCAPE I’m working on a set of open access workshop materials that aim to be globally relevant and applicable to a range of science communication practitioners.

In GlobalSCAPE, you have developed workshop material. Could you tell us more about? How was the development process?

The materials are based around four modules, chosen for their potential to address areas that have been identified as lacking within science communication training and also for their potential impact on society.  These modules consider

  1. A glocalised approach to science communication,
  2. Exploring SciComm as an ecosystem,
  3. Issues of Justice, equity, diversity and Inclusion in scicomm, and
  4. Scicomm for sustainable development.

The target audience is science communication practitioners from various stakeholder groups and is intended to be used and adapted as needed by different stakeholders from different global regions, depending on their needs. It is intended that practitioners can choose whatever feels most relevant to them, to get new ideas and approaches for how they can use Science Communication to achieve broader impacts within society.

My whole approach from the outset of this project was to explore new ways of considering and approaching science communication.  As such it hasn’t been a very straightforward process.  Many of the things I have brought together do not seem to have been given a lot of specific attention within scicomm, particularly on a global level. The global aspect has proven particularly challenging as well, due to the vast differences in approaches, audiences, languages, needs, representation, funding, government support etc.  There is also a huge need to get feedback from our scicomm colleagues around the world, whose valuable knowledge and experiences are still somewhat undocumented on a global level.  We hope the diary study can inform this deficit somewhat but ultimately, the major benefit will be seen when local communicators adapt and utilise these materials to suit their needs, and hopefully be prepared to feedback any lessons learnt

Your material covers the notion of “Glocalised” scicomm. What does it mean and why is this important for scicomm?

A Glocalised approach to scicomm is about experiencing the global locally or through local lensesSo on the one hand it considers the scope of scicomm activities being extended for global application.  Importantly this is not about ideas just travelling from the ‘West to the rest’,  but more about science communicators looking further afield for inspiration, partnership and impact within science communication.   On the other hand, it is about taking these diverse global approaches and adapting them to suit local needs and circumstances, which is a practice that we should be doing within science communication anyway, to improve relevance and potential impact of our activities.

As a result of modern transport and communications we are increasingly coming into contact with and becoming reliant on circumstances that are global in nature, whether it be global audiences, global issues (i.e. Climate change, sustainability, Covid-19), or global sources of research or funding.  However, often we still only regard things from our own localised perspective, which makes sense but I would argue that identifying ways to interact with a wider regional variety of actors can help to foster both global and local networks of science communication.  Ultimately, we would hope this helps the field to become more responsive to the increasingly diverse landscapes in which science communication takes place.

A lot of educational resources already exist, what is the added value of the one produced by the GlobalSCAPE project?

Mostly it is that these resources intentionally have global awareness as a key focus. We are not saying that we have reviewed or considered all of the ideas and approaches of the world, a task that is much more immense than the scope of this current project. However, we have taken pains to incorporate a wide variety of global experiences, perspectives and circumstances in order to highlight the diverse applicability of science communication nowadays.

Also, these resources are open access and open source, so they can (and should) be adapted and used as is needed and relevant within different locales and circumstances. The important thing is that science communicators take on a reflexive attitude when approaching their practice and we hope that anyone who is inspired to use these resources, can build upon them in a way that is responsive to their local needs, and isn’t afraid to challenge mainstreamed perspectives held within science communication practice and research, that is often skewed towards a Western perspective.

What do you hope the participants will take away from the workshop?

It depends on which module(s) they undertake but I would generally hope that participants become more aware of the diverse ways in which science communication can act within societies across the globe. Also, the hope is that the approaches considered in the modules will inspire more communicators to find new ways of using science communication to create meaningful impact within their local communities and also beyond national borders.

GlobalSCAPE involved in a special issue of JCOM

By Project news, Science communication
As part of our collaboration with PCST (the international network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology), GlobalSCAPE is supporting a special issue of JCOM, the Journal of Science Communication, to be published in 2023.  Our project leader, Joseph Roche, tells us more.
Joseph Roche is an Associate Professor in Science Education at Trinity College Dublin. He is the Director of Research at the School of Education and leads the Science & Society research group which coordinates international research projects on science communication, informal learning, citizen science, public engagement, and higher education science. Joseph has worked at NASA and is a visiting scholar at Harvard. He is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and is the author of the textbook “Essential Skills for Early Career Researchers”.
Joseph, you are the lead guest editor of this special issue of JCOM. Could you tell us more about the idea behind it?

This special issue is one of the key outputs of the GlobalSCAPE project. GlobalSCAPE was funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 work programme topic SwafS-19 and was tasked with, among other things, taking stock and re-examining the role of science communication teaching as a dedicated academic discipline. Thanks to a very productive collaboration with the PCST (the Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology) a map of science communication courses around the world is being developed and will help students, researchers, and practitioners to find and share science communication courses anywhere in the world. This special issue is a chance for us to learn more about how science communication is being taught in universities around the world. The collaboration between the PCST and GlobalSCAPE is coordinated via the PCST Teaching Forum and has been led by the GlobalSCAPE team member Luisa Massarani of SciDev.Net.

You were involved in previous JCOM special issues featuring EU-funded projects working on the role of science communication in society. What is different about this one?

This JCOM special issue builds on the previous special issues in 2021 and 2022 featuring the work of the eight SwafS-19 projects. As GlobalSCAPE is the final science communication research project to be funded, we have an added responsibility to highlight the importance of gathering global voices on science communication to understand the practices, strategies, and the ramifications of how science communication is taught in a rapidly changing global landscape. This will be integral to a new Horizon Europe project that the European Commission is funding from 2023-2027 that will bring all eight SwafS-19 projects together to establish a European Centre for Science Communication.

You probably expect to receive a high number of abstracts, what is your advice to help submitting authors stand out?

We would love to receive a high number of abstracts but it is unlikely. The whole reason we need this special issue is because so few people publish papers on how they teach science communication. There are many possible reasons for that but one of them might be the costs associated. That is why we are so glad to be working with JCOM which publishes all its papers open access and has no article processing charges so at least there will be no financial barrier to researchers and practitioners sharing their work. We are very grateful to the JCOM Editors Michelle Riedlinger and Marina Joubert for recognising the importance of this work.

If anyone is considering submitting an article to the special issue we recommend getting in touch with any of the four guest editors, all of whom are linked to the GlobalSCAPE project: Joseph Roche (PI of GlobalSCAPE at Trinity College Dublin <>), Luisa Massarani (Representing GlobalSCAPE partner SciDev.Net  <>), Bruce Lewenstein (Member of the GlobalSCAPE Advisory Board at Cornell University <>), Anne Land-Zandstra (Representing GlobalSCAPE partner Leiden University <>).

Practicalities and instructions for submission are available on the JCOM website. You have until 21st December 2022 to submit your abstract.

Collaboration with the PCST Teaching Forum

By Project news, Science communication

Today, we hear from project partner Luisa Massarani. She is the Coordinator for Latin America for SciDev.Net, a world-leading source of reliable and authoritative news, views, and analysis about science and technology for global development. SciDev’s mission is to use independent journalism to help individuals and organisations apply science to decision-making in order to drive equitable, sustainable development and poverty reduction. SciDev.Net is part of CAB International (CABI) – a not-for-profit organisation that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. SciDev.Net is a member of the GlobaSCAPE consortium.

When mapping a global picture of science communication and giving more space to lesser-heard voices outside of Europe, GlobalSCAPE doesn’t evolve in a void: it contributes to existing discussions and practices that constitute the scicomm sphere all around the world. One of the other actors evolving in this sphere is PCST, the international network of Public Communication of Science and Technology.

The PCST Network seeks to promote new ideas, methods, intellectual and practical questions, and perspectives on the communication of science and technology.

In the words of Luisa Massarani, the PCST Network aims specifically to:

  • improve theoretical understanding of science communication by providing a forum for the latest developments
  • advance the practice of science communication through a platform to consider strategies and methods
  • promote exchange between practitioners and theoreticians, to boost the development of both the study and practice of science communication.

Members of the PCST Network come from a range of backgrounds covering both the theory and practice of scicomm: researchers, comms staff in research organisations, science centres & museums professionals, science journalists, scientific ethics & philosophy students, writers & editors, web designers, and even artists working with science themes. The PCST Network is managed by a Scientific Committee of which members are elected every two years at the general meeting held at the bi-annual PCST Conference.

A worldwide data base of programmes and courses in science communication

The PCST Network and GlobalSCAPE recently agreed on a collaboration within the scope of the PCST Teaching Forum, a part of the PCST Network which is an international network of science communication lecturers at undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. levels.

Both GlobalSCAPE and the PCST Teaching Forum aim to understand and support science communication teaching around the globe. Therefore, this partnership is mutually beneficial for both organisations.

This collaboration can be useful at different levels for the science communication ecosystem, in particular for an academic field as young as science communication.

The worldwide database is an initiative that was already launched before the agreement and will require systematic updates. As the research project is being carried out, two joint papers are planned for submission before the end of GlobaSCAPE.

The Teaching Forum aims to provide a network of support for people involved in teaching science communication. We agreed to work together on a worldwide database of programmes and courses in science communication, as well as a research project on worldwide master programmes in science communication.

Indeed, the database can support those involved in a course or educational programme to find other stakeholders to exchange ideas with and collaborate, but it is equally useful for those individuals and institutions that want to create new programmes to find inspiration in other existing models and to develop activities adapted to their context. Not to mention it is a convenient tool for individuals who want to enrol in a programme or course in science communication to find the perfect fit.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101006436.