SAPS-RA-MCS 2021 - Science avec et pour la société – Recherche Action – Médiation et communication scientifiques

Reinforcing the ecosystem of training programs in science communication – REFORMS

Submission summary

In a context of significant transformations of the relations between science and society (environmental crisis; viral pandemic; challenges to the legitimacy of scientists; emergence of new actors and citizen sciences, etc.), science communication is receiving increasing institutional attention. At the same time, the demand for training programs in this field is more and more important.

The REFORMS project aims to systematize knowledge relating to the ensemble of proposed training programs in science communication in France, and to help structure the community of its actors.

As a first step, we propose: (i) to map the training programs and the contents taught at the national level, (ii) to analyze the profiles of incoming students and alumni, (iii) to document the pedagogical innovations born within these programs, both in terms of contents and formats, in particular those that appeared during the pandemic.

Secondly, this “state of the art” of the French science communication training ecosystem will be examined in the broader context of transformations in science and society relations. In particular, we will focus our attention on 5 dimensions of the transformations currently in progress:
(i) The variety of open science practices, and research institutions’ inclination to open up to other actors as co-producers of knowledge.
(ii) Trans-sectoriality in research, pushing for increasingly close collaboration not only between different disciplines, but between different sectors (research, business, organized civil society, art, culture, etc.).
(iii) Reactions to anti-science movements, and in particular, researchers’ ability to understand the underlying reasons for their success, in order to better counter them.
(iv) Taking into account the projected social impact of research programs in their defining phase, as well as the growing interest in different forms of citizen science and participatory research.
(v) The professionalization of science communication roles, their diversification, and the relations between professional science communicators and researchers engaged in science communication.

The REFORMS project will deliver a final report including a mapping of training programs, a mapping of the diverse contents being taught, an assessment of the profiles of incoming students and of alumni, and a collection of educational innovations resulting from the pandemic. Reflections on the suitability of current training programs to science-society evolutions will generate at least one publication in one of these three journals: Journal of Science Communication; Public Understanding of Science; Science Communication.

We foresee that : (i) this work will be thoroughly discussed during key science communication meetings in France (AMCSTI, NIMS days, ...) and internationally (ECSITE, Science & You, PCST, ACFAS, ACS Quebec ...), (ii) the final report will be disseminated via traditional channels (OCIM letter, AMCSTI newsletter) and in online communities of science communicators (Café des sciences, Science shakers, Conscience collective. ..).

All of the results, in the short and long term, will prove directly useful both for the stakeholders who shape the offer of science communication programs, and for the target audiences of such programs. In addition, the participation of training actors in REFORMS will strengthen or create links within the ecosystem. One of the effects of our project therefore resides in the strengthening of this community.

Project coordinator

Monsieur jean-marc GALAN (centre internet et société UPR2000)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CIS centre internet et société UPR2000

Help of the ANR 79,610 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 24 Months

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