May 18, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

On the 9/10th of March 2021, our I, Science team will have a virtual booth at the annual SCI:COM conference.

The event itself is a two-day conference, covering the stories that shape science and research throughout Europe. It is a unique online experience that will include an exciting day of talks, panel discussions and networking with some of the greatest minds in science communication.

This year, the conference’s theme is ADAPT – something that almost everyone has come across in some form this year. The speakers will be exploring the failure of science communication throughout the pandemic and how research is being adapted on a population level to meet society’s needs. There will also be discussions of anti-science movements and how science communication needs to change to adjust to misinformation.

But first, why is science communication so important?

Science communication, or the practise of informing, educating and raising awareness of science-related topics, is arguably more important today than ever before. It bridges the gap between the ‘science world’ and the general, non-scientist public.

Ultimately science communication is vital in order that the public can understand the basics of science to make informed decisions. Not only does this help in an individual’s everyday life but it can also help to better shape the direction of political and policy decisions.

Threats such as climate change and the current COVID-19 pandemic mean that science communication is ever increasing in importance. How science communicators address these issues and provide information may have measurable conservation impacts on our planet.

Moreover, with the rise of social media, science communication has never been more accessible. However, this rapid consumption comes with its own challenges in the form of misinformation and fake news that have become particularly apparent within the past year.

These issues represent just some of the topics that will be covered in the SCI:COM event as speakers from all over Europe highlight the importance of science communication and the challenges posed for the science communicators of today.

Who will be speaking?

Mark Little (Kinzen!) and Greg and Maddie (Let's Go LIve!)

There have been some great speakers announced from a wide variety of different backgrounds. Mark Little, CEO and co-founder of Kinzen will talk about what science communicators need to do to fight disinformation. Maddie Moate and Greg Foot (an Imperial Alumni) will be sharing their insights on Youtube audiences and how to create a high production value TV show that can be streamed from anywhere. With so many new projects on the go, Greg’s SCI:COM presentation is sure to be fascinating, and in the meantime you can check out his 2016 podcast from when I, Science caught up with Greg to hear all about his science communication adventures on YouTube! Lastly, the keynote speaker, Tom Vanderbilt, Author and Science Writer will close the conference, talking about his new book ‘Beginnings’ and why it is important to try new things, something we in the sci-comm community have been doing a lot over the past year.

If you are interested in hearing from these speakers and more or you would like to visit our virtual booth at the conference, then head on over to the SCI:COM website: https://www.scicom.ie/.  

For further information on the importance of science communication check out these articles:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814050010

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852879/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-020-00645-1


Gemma Ralton is the Marketing Manager at I, Science and a current student of the MSc Science Communication course at Imperial. She graduated with a BSc in Environmental Science and enjoys communicating about the latest global issues on science and sustainability.