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Communicating Geoscience: Principles, Practices, and Strategies for Public Engagement


27-29 février 2024


M. Massimo Caine, UNIGE


Pre Costanza Bonadonna, UNIGE

Mme Anna Scolobig, UNIGE

Pr. Iain Stewart, Royal Scientific Society,

Jordan Pr Tommaso Venturini, UNIGE

Ruxandra Stoicescu, Swiss Network for International Studies, Geneva

Rhea Katsanakis, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Geneva


This course on "Communicating Geoscience: Principles, Practices, and Strategies for Public Engagement" offers a comprehensive exploration of effective science communication in the geosciences. Spanning three days, it covers the foundational principles of science communication, strategies for dissemination and engagement with the media, and advanced methods for dialogues, risk communication, and stakeholder collaboration. Participants will learn about one-way, two-way, and three-way communication models, the use of digital tools for controversy mapping, and techniques for engaging policymakers. Through a mix of lectures, exercises, and case studies, the course aims to equip geoscientists with the skills to effectively communicate their work to the public, media, and policymakers, fostering greater understanding and action on geoscientific issues.

"Communicating Geoscience: Principles, Practices, and Strategies for Public Engagement" is a joint DPMS/ESPP course designed to help geoscientists effectively communicate their research and engage with diverse audiences. Through a combination of lectures, exercises, and guest speakers, the course covers a range of communication models and frameworks, including strategies for dissemination through various media and documentary film-making.



Day 1 (February 27th 2024) Introduction


9h00-10h30 Principles and Practices - Prof. Iain Stewart

The "Principles and Practices" module introduces foundational science communication models and frameworks, explores public understanding and literacy in science, examines the implications of deficit model thinking, and discusses the barriers, costs, and benefits of science communication within academic and professional contexts. 


10h30-10h45 Coffee Break 


10h45-12h15 Make and Sell – Dissemination (one-way communications) - Prof. Iain Stewart

The "Make and Sell – Dissemination" module focuses on one-way communication strategies to enhance science outreach, emphasizing the importance of becoming an effective communicator through narrative-led storytelling, and leveraging social media platforms like blogs, vlogs, YouTube, and educational videos for broader engagement. 


12h15-13h30 Lunch Break


13h30-16h30 Working with the Media - Ruxandra Stoicescu

The "Working with the Media" module delves into the dynamics of engaging with the news media, offering insights on understanding media operations and strategies for effectively collaborating with journalists to enhance science communication. 


Day 2 (February 28th 2024) Dialogues – an introduction to two-way communications 


9h00-10h30 Risk Communication and Behaviour in the Real World – Prof. Costanza Bonadonna

The "Risk Communication and Behaviour in the Real World" module explores the principles of communicating about hazards and risks, using case studies from fields like volcanology to illustrate effective strategies for influencing public behavior and perceptions in real-world scenarios. 


10h30-10h45 Coffee Break 


10h45-12h15 Sense & Respond – Prof. Iain Stewart

The "Sense & Respond" module examines how scientists can utilize marketing and public relations tactics to better connect with the public, covering topics such as audience segmentation, the use of frames and framing in communication, and the influence of cognitive biases like myopia, optimism, and herding on public perception and behavior. 


12h15-13h30 Lunch Break 


13h30-16h30 The Social Dynamics of Communication – Dr. Anna Scolobig 

The "Social Dynamics of Communication" module delves into the transformation from risk perception to actionable behaviors, highlighting the role of anthropological insights, integrated communication approaches, and the Protection Motivation Theory in fostering preparedness and resilience among communities. 


Day 3 (February 29th 2024) Participation – an introduction to three-way communications


9h00-12h00 Towards 'Guide & Co-create' Communications – Prof. Iain Stewart and Dr. Anna Scolobig

The "Towards 'Guide & Co-create' Communications" module focuses on engaging stakeholders and communities through knowledge brokering and citizen science, advocating for a collaborative approach that emphasizes co-creation modes and theories to foster inclusive and impactful science communication. 


12h00-13h15 Lunch Break 


13h15-15h15 Communication Analysis: Digital Methods – Prof. Tommaso Venturini

The "Communication Analysis: Digital Methods" module introduces innovative digital techniques for analyzing science communication, with a special focus on controversy mapping to understand and navigate complex debates and discussions within the scientific community and the public sphere. 


15h15-15h30 Coffee Break 


15h30-17h00 Engaging Policymakers – Rhea Katsanakis

The "Engaging Policymakers" module focuses on the strategic communication with policymakers by dissecting the Sendai Framework's core principles for Disaster Risk Reduction, stressing the need for proactive disaster management, navigating the political communication landscape within the DRR sector, and leveraging insights from the Global Assessment Report 2022 to underscore critical communication strategies and challenges. 








Deadline for registration 26.02.2024
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