CONCISE presents results on the perception of science among European citizens

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The CONCISE project presents this Friday, January 22, between 17:00 and 19:00 CET and by telematic means, the conclusions of an investigation on the perception of science carried out from the data obtained in five citizen consultations. These took place at the end of 2019 in five cities in as many European countries: Valencia, Lodz (Poland), Vicenza (Italy), Lisbon (Portugal) and Trnava (Slovakia).

In the online seminar entitled Path of trust for better science communication, and which can be followed at this link prior to registration, CONCISE partners will offer the results of an investigation into how citizens perceive what a reliable source is, what trust they have on scientific communication and how they use social networks as a source of science news.

The main conclusions of the qualitative study that has been carried out with in-depth interviews on the barriers and incentives that researchers, disseminators and science journalists encounter when communicating scientific knowledge will also be detailed. In addition, the seminar will feature the participation of Dominique Brossard, Professor of the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This session will serve to close the CONCISE project, funded with 1.2 million euros, by the European Union within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program. However, and as the members of the project have already explained, the data obtained in the consultations will allow the team to continue investigating beyond project completion.

The CONCISE citizen consultations took place in Valencia, Lodz (Poland), Vicenza (Italy), Lisbon (Portugal) and Trnava (Slovakia). A total of 497 people participated in them. In fact, one of the first challenges the team faced was gathering a sample of participants that reflected social diversity. The four fundamental criteria that were established were gender, age, educational level and origin (rural environment or urban environment). Likewise, it sought to involve people with disabilities and people from ethnic minorities.

The people who were selected were integrated into discussion tables in which there were between 8 and 10 participants. In each of the tables, four topics that generate certain social controversy were debated: climate change, vaccines, genetically modified organisms, and complementary and alternative medicine. The debates of the 58 tables were recorded in full.

After the five consultations were completed, the citizen speeches were transcribed, resulting in more than 3,500 pages of transcripts. The quantitative and qualitative analysis of the speeches of the participants in the consultations has allowed the members of CONCISE to elaborate, among others, a series of recommendations destined to propose actions that improve the communication of science. These recommendations are aimed at communication, science, and healthcare professionals, as well as staff from public and private institutions.

Improving science communication

The project´s policy briefs are already available on our website, that is, the documents that the research team has produced with proposals aimed at improving science communication. In addition to the recommendations at the European level, a series of recommendations has been drawn up for each of the countries in which the consultation took place. These recommendations are aimed at legislators, research and health personnel, and scientific communication professionals, as well as public and private scientific institutions.

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