Scientific communication in the spotlight

KSCN with Professor Ilka Parchmann

© pur.pur

One of the projects with which President Professor Simone Fulda presented the research location of Schleswig-Holstein to the German Council of Science and Humanities and invited guests was the Kiel Science Communication Network (KSCN). It’s goals read like the recommendations from the position paper on scientific communication and yet they were drawn up completely independently: conveying scientific facts, bringing findings to society and reaching target groups, both of which have previously been difficult.

"The topic of scientific communication is of course not a new one. However, the COVID pandemic has nudged science and researchers prominently into the spotlight," stated Professor Ilka Parchmann. She is spokesperson of the research line for scientific communication and promotion of young talent at the Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) and one of the spokespeople of the KSCN. The public are especially calling for verified information, and the requirements are tough: "The current state of research needs to be explained in an understandable way here, and the foundations of study designs must be transparent."

The KSCN will be looking into how this can be achieved in future and has linked up with various partners to do so. The joint project will be funded over the coming five years by the Volkswagen Foundation, which will provide around four million euros. To design appealing visualisations and look at developing a user experience design, the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design is on board. Project partners in real life practice are broadcaster Norddeutsche Rundfunk (NDR), publisher Spektrum der Wissenschaft, video channel "Kurzgesagt" and opencampus in Kiel. "Kiel University and the IPN have already successfully established this kind of cooperation in the Kiel Science Outreach Campus (KISOC) and worked in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary way. We also have good points of contact here in terms of content. With the KSCN, we are taking the network to a new level."

"Another special feature of the Kiel Centre for Science Communication Research within the spectrum of the four centres nationwide is on interfaces to education. We want to communicate the relevance of scientific findings to children at school level. At the same time, we also have to make the content usable for teachers," said the researcher. With the research workshop, there is already an established format available at the IPN. "Yet knowledge transfer should also be given an important place in educating young researchers; we are building on the successful work of the Graduate Center on site here. Conversely, this means that in future, more than in the past, not only the number of publications will be used as a criterion for a successful academic career." In future, scientists should be able to receive more advanced training and have the opportunity to create a kind of toolbox for their own research field.

Author: Christin Beeck