Masterclasses in Science Communication: An international training programme for scientists and other professionals

Valentina Daelli, Paola Rodari

This paper seeks to highlight a significant shortcoming in the training of scientists and researchers. A survey of the experiences and needs of a sample of the scientific community has revealed a high level of interest in engaging with science communication projects, but there is a distinct lack of available training in why such projects are needed, and how to carry them out. Based on these findings, SISSA Medialab has developed a set of science communication Masterclasses for scientists, science communicators and other professionals. The content of these Masterclasses is outlined here, and the first stages of their evaluation are described. The courses are relevant across all scientific disciplines including astronomy.



Bridging the Research-Practice Gap in Climate Communication: Lessons From One Academic-Practitioner Collaboration

Hahrie Han, Neil Stenhouse

Recent evidence suggests that a research-practice gap exists for climate change communication, whereby practitioners are not making optimal use of knowledge that exists and scholars are not answering questions most relevant to practitioners. Closer collaboration between academics and practitioners is one way to close this gap. We recount our collaboration with a group of Sierra Club staff and volunteers working to improve their climate advocacy and organizing activities. From our collaboration, four ways of improving future collaborations emerged, relating to broad versus narrow applicability of communication recommendations, strategy versus tactics, academic versus experiential knowledge, and proactive versus reactive support.


Making sense of Islamic creationism in Europe

Salman Hameed

Islamic creationism has been noted as a serious concern in Europe. There have been reports of boycotts of university evolution lectures and, in one extreme case, even a threat of violence. While religious objections are indeed at play in some cases, our understanding of the rise of Islamic creationism should also take into account socioeconomic disparities and its impact on education for Muslim minorities in Europe. Furthermore, the broader narrative of rejection of evolution in Europe, for some Muslims, may be bound up in reactions to the secular culture and in the formation of their own minority religious identity. On the other hand, the stories of Muslim rejection of evolution in media end up reinforcing the stereotype of Muslims as “outsiders” and a threat to the European education system. A nuanced understanding of this dynamic may benefit those who support both the propagation of good science and favor cultural pluralism.