Prof. Alexander Gerber
Our science communication group aims at crossing what is often seen as the divide between scholarship and practice. We are a community of staff and students working towards a common goal of bringing research and teaching in science communication together as an agent of social innovation and social justice. We share a vision of science and innovation that includes a range of stakeholders in a process of co-production that is reflective, inclusive and sustainable.
The school of thought we have helped to establish, is 'Evidence-based Science Communication', arguing for an improved knowledge exchange between scholarship and practice to make communication practice more effective and inclusive and thus put public interests at the heart of how scientific knowledge is produced, shared, and applied.
A rceent example for the systemic approach of our work is the first in-depth empirical field analysis of science communication research (2020).
Our work is guided by a trans-cultural, comparative approach. We are particularly interested in the global diversity of science communication and therefore try to learn from collaborating in projects with more than 80 different institutions worldwide. Our group also activiely contributes to networks such as PCST and RedPOP, EASST and iSMA.
Our focus on socio-political dimensions of science communication, could be framed as an 'Open Science Communication', emphasising the shared responsibilities among different stakeholders of science.
In contrast to most other (much shorter) Masters progammes, our 3.5-year course integrates the 'craft' of communicating science with the theories and methodologies, by covering a wide spectrum from sociology to philosophy of science, to understand concepts such as 'Scientific Citizenship' or 'CSR'. Insights from social psychology and political communication inform our understanding of attitude-formation and cognition. Our students work with actual research data, e.g. in terms of data-visualisation, or machine learning for big-data analysis. They create mobile apps and develop communication plans for collaborating industrial or academic partner institutions. Social science research methods (e.g. evaluation) and increasingly also computational social sciences are at the heart of our programme.
At the moment, our research includes five EU-funded "Horizon 2020" projects, such as the coordination of "NUCLEUS" where we are working on communication issues of anticipatory institutional governance and culture change. Other projects such as RRING, GRRIP, TeRRIFICA and Ô, focus on social innovation and social appropriation of science, including highly interdisciplinary forms of participatory design and stakeholder management. The CREATIONS project focused on integrating arts in science education for the past three years.
The department co-hosts Europe's largest Summer School for Science Communication ("STEAM"), which was funded through the Erasmus+ scheme for three years, and was then turned into a social enterprise.
Prof. Gerber has supervised science communication evaluation projects for national and regional governments, including a global research field analysis, in his funtion as Research Director of the Institute for Science and Innovation Communication (inscico). In 2011, he initiated and coordinated the first "Trend Study" on Science Communication. The information scientist and long-time science journalist / author / film director formerly was Head of Marketing & Communications at Fraunhofer (ICT) for seven years, and founder and editor-in-chief of InnoVisions Magazine.
Prof. Gerber is an elected member of the Governing Board of Euroscience, and of the Scientific Steering Committee of PCST (Public Communication of Science an Technology Network). He serves as a member of several Advisory Boards.
Blog (inactive at the moment): http://scienceblogs.de/sic