Obstacles and incentives of engaging in public science communication

Exploring the obstacles and incentives of public science communication is an important part of CONCISE. And to achieve this goal, the team from the “Science, Communication and Society Studies Centre” of the Pompeu Fabra University (CCS-UPF) will interview 30 European-based science communicators in depth.

Science communication landscape has changed

 For the past two decades, science communication has experienced profound transformations. Now there are countless sources and content creators. There is also more information available on the Internet. And also, the public’s’ consuming behaviour has changed dramatically.
As a matter of fact, most journalistic media have reduced their resources to cover science and technology news during the last decade. Nonetheless, many other organizations (such as universities, research, and innovation centres and private companies) have, in turn, increased them. Thus, the role of such organisations in science communication is becoming more active.
Social networks and search engines (e.g. Google, YouTube, etc.) are now central pieces in the news cycle, thanks to their algorithms. The immediate reactions of the audience, like clickbait, are now key and drive the information flows.
Another big change in modern science communication is its multiple actors and their interactions. Examples of such actors are:

  • journalists,
  • professional science communicators,
  • scientists,
  • science mediators
  • and others, including policymakers.

They may interact either peer-to-peer or between groups. As seen here, different actors, with different objectives and professional backgrounds, coexist. Exploring them in-depth will help us to understand their role.


In summary, through these 30 expert interviews, CONCISE seeks to better understand the existing incentives and structural obstacles that science communicators face when attempting to promote public engagement.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Carolina Llorente (Studies Center on Science, Communication and Society – Pompeu Fabra University)