VA debating topical science & society issues at ESOF 2020 

Public trust in science, handling scientific uncertainty, responsible research and innovation, and the future of science communication are all topics of discussion that VA (Public & Science) will be contributing to at this year’s EuroScience Open Forum, taking place on 2-6 September.

ESOF, Europe’s largest interdisciplinary event, will bring together scientists, innovators, policy makers, science communicators and business representatives both online and physically in Trieste, Italy, for a week of debate and interaction around the theme of “Freedom for science, science for freedom.

VA is involved in four sessions, all online and part of the ‘Science and Society’ theme:

  • VA is co-organising and introducing the session The quest for reliability in the face of an ’infodemic’: handling scientific uncertainty in unfolding debates on 3 September at 11:50-13:20. A dialogue session to discuss how researchers, engagement practitioners, journalists and institutions can get involved in public debates about science and evidence and equip people to make assessments about reliability, particularly when those debates are controversial; with a focus on communicating what we know and how. How can uncertainty and trade-offs be communicated well?
  • VA and the ORION Open Science EU-project are organising the session Joining forces for a global 21st century Responsible Research and Innovation network on 3 September at 14:30-16:00. The session will discuss and take stock of collective insights of projects and initiatives that are greater than the sum of the parts. The discussions will also include specifics about how set up and to make a global RRI network useful, sustainable and effective.

  • VA will contribute with results from our Swedish attitude surveys in the session Understanding public trust and distrust in science on 4 September at 14:30-16:00. The session will highlight and discuss the crucial role science communication plays in the gaining and maintaining of public trust for scientists and scientific institutions.

  • VA will give a presentation in the session Rethinking Science Communication: Experience from the Covid-19 Pandemic on 4 September at 16:15-17:45 where different examples will be put in perspective with the knowledge from media research and social sciences about impact of communication in society. What will the future of science and knowledge communication be in a world of fake news, propaganda warfare and misinformation?

ESOF provides a diverse and stimulating international forum to discuss topical issues at the interface of science, technology, society and politics. We look forward again to contributing to this year’s event, albeit online, which will hopefully provide an opportunity for many others around the world to participate too,

Cissi Askwall, Secretary General of VA (Public & Science.

The full programme and registration details are available on the ESOF website.


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