A few reasons to engage in science communication

  • Social value creation: Researchers are often financed with public resources. By engaging in science communication, you can inform the public about the use and societal relevance of your research.
  • Share your passion: Especially the exact sciences suffer from low enrolment numbers yearly . Ensure the continued existence of research and education within your domain, and share your love for your profession with the next generation!
  • Develop your skills: Engaging in science communication during your PhD or post-doc is an asset that could distinguish you from other researchers on the labor market.
  • Outreach: As a researcher, you receive requests for communication about your research from official institutions. As such, science communication is part of the tasks of a Senior Academic Staff mandate or PWO projects. Additionally, the FWO, BOF and the EU all ask that the universities and researchers they finance, communicate with the broader public about their research.

Relevant themes

Science communication represents all research domains, is linked to various governmental policies/policy objectives, and is aimed at specific audiences within society.

Science & Society

Through science communication, we are able to create and maintain a culture of science, technology and innovation at every level of society, and to contribute to the increase of innovative potential. To achieve this, we develop initiatives and participate in umbrella events that aim to make science accessible and to raise public awareness of the importance of science. Some examples areour science café Science Bar Brussels, the and Bright Club.

STEM & Youth

One of the strategic goals of Scientific Communication is to get more young people into STEM. To achieve this we develop, organize, and support various activities and educational packages designed to introduce young people to science and technology. Another aspect of this goal involves (extra/supplementary/refresher) training regarding/concerning STEM fields in education/the education field (in cooperation with teacher training programs and centers for supplementary education). We offer a number of educative projects and workshops for young people, both in- and outside of the school walls. Additionally, we support the bi-yearly Flemish Science Week.

Sustainability

Sustainability and science go hand in hand. Through different projects, aimed at society in general and young people in particular, we draw attention to green technologies and innovation, climate change and sustainable development. Climate Challenge, In 2013, Climate Challenge (an initiative by/of WWF, VUB, EhB and Studio Globo), launched a digital platform for teachers and students in secondary education to address the theme of climate change in a new way. Young people learn about the causes, effects and solutions  of and for climate change through course material, reports, interviews, class assignments, and a climate conference. The website receives more than/over 100,000 visitors on a yearly basis, and has 950 registered teachers. The initiative also offers a platform to set up various additional activities relating to sustainability, such as climate conferences in the European Parliament, workshops on greenery in the city, etc. New initiatives regarding sustainability can be seeded on this platform.

Policy on target demographics

An important goal of Science Communication is to increase the engagement of underprivileged groups and to increase the opportunities for top talent. That is why we strive to make our activities more visible among underprivileged groups, and to develop initiatives specifically aimed at top talent and underprivileged groups. An example of this would be the Bright Sparks workshops for top talent we organize. Additionally, we also have an eye for gender and diversity, and have in the past set up workshops by and for girls within Technology Clubs and “Technogrieten”. Currently, we are looking for new proposals to further develop our target demographics policy.

Media

With science communication, we try to inspire the media to show science and technology in a positive and attractive light to the outside world. We do this, among other things, through our scientific blog Wtnschp.be. We also offer communication training to researchers and professors, and bring journalists in touch with the researchers and scientific departments they are looking for.

Community-based research

The relationship between research and society is not a one-way street. We forward questions from society to researchers via the Science Shop (Wetenschapswinkel). Moreover, we want to anchor community-based research within the higher education curricula through the EnRRICH project, and in doing so, integrate socially Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI for short), with students, professors and researchers at the European colleges and universities.