Focus
All stakeholders, from researchers to professionals, policy makers and citizens must contribute to achieve sustainable development and the SDGs.  Researchers have to provide the acquired knowledge, whereas professionals and policy makers need the capacity to face and manage complex issues. Citizens’ engagement is necessary in order to promote a constructive dialogue that supports both research and policy. Education and Science Communication are two key components to launch and support this process.

In the last 10 years, VIU has developed educational projects for policy makers and professionals to transfer knowledge and share best practices on scientific, economic and social aspects of sustainable development.

VIU has paid growing attention to science communication, as it is increasingly entering the public debate at different levels and can be an important lever to achieve sustainable development.  Science Communication entails not only the transfer and dissemination of knowledge to a wider audience; it rather aims to raise citizens’ awareness towards those topics that stem from research and daily impact their lives (i.e. health, food safety, climate change).  Citizens can thus be actively involved in the debate with the scientific community as well as with all competent authorities, including policy makers.

Goals

  • To promote capacity building for professionals and policy makers
  • To train researchers as well as professional communicators to an effective communication of research results, able to use an accessible language and trustable sources
  • To strengthen the dialogue with scientific and governmental institutions in order to have them recognize the value of Science Communication and hence engage them in supporting it through investments and incentives
  • To promote Science Communication as a discipline – based on a strong interdisciplinary approach – able to open new job opportunities for the younger generations

Projects
In line with VIU methodology, networking and building communities around discussion topics is at the basis of our approach to projects, with the aim to activate competencies in a variety of disciplines. Our projects on this focus area built around:

  • Capacity building to policy makers and professionals as short training sessions addressing a specific topic approached through a multi-disciplinary perspective. In-class sessions and site visits supports the adopted methodology.
  • Public engagement events are conceived as open to the public, targeting a wide audience, with a specific goal of engaging the large public while raising their awareness and spreading the knowledge among different stakeholders and disciplines.
  • Research on Science Communication is meant to provide the knowledge base and capacity to communicate research results to the wide public. The analyzed topics include RRI, citizen science, open science. This is a key element to support consumers’ awareness in their choices and to have an increasing active role in science and research.