There are many Swedish actors that are interested in increasing access to research and research findings, according to a new study conducted by VA (Public & Science) and the popular science magazine Forskning & Framsteg. The Swedish Research Council has subsequently committed to support the development of a collaborative national initiative on science communication and science journalism.
The study was carried out in 2019 on behalf of the Swedish Research Council. Its purpose was to investigate how research and science can be made more accessible in Sweden, both to the general public and to other target groups outside of academia.
The investigation involved mapping and interviewing actors that produce, fund, communicate or use research in Sweden. The results are presented in the report ‘Research Foresight’ (Forskning.framsyn), which also includes descriptions of around 20 communication initiatives in other European countries, such as the science media Forskning.no in Norway and the Videnskap.dk in Denmark.
Two thirds of the 65 Swedish actors interviewed have a positive attitude towards opportunities for collaboration and are interested in being involved in this work. Recurring arguments include the importance of opening up science, counteracting fact resistance, giving researchers more space in societal debate, building visibility and credibility, and utilising resources more efficiently.
A Swedish initiative aimed at disseminating evidence-based knowledge in society
“The findings strengthens our view that collaboration at a national level between research producers and research funding bodies is important, and I am pleased that good conditions for this exist. For this reason, the Swedish Research Council will continue its work to establish a Swedish initiative to disseminate evidence-based knowledge in society,” said Sven Stafström, Director General of the Swedish Research Council.
The report proposes a web platform that will evolve over time to gather science journalism; news from universities, research institutes and research funding bodies; a forum for researchers’ own stories in the form of articles, films and podcasts; and a centre of excellence to provide support to researchers and communicators.
“The fact that there is widespread interest in collaborating nationally provides a good basis for the development of a Swedish initiative. There are suitable platforms that we can develop and build upon,” commented Mikael Jonsson, Director of Communication at the Swedish Research Council.