Universiteit Leiden

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Institute of Biology Leiden

Science Communication and Society

The research group Science Communication and Society has been physically within the Institute of Biology (IBL) since 2012 and has become a formal part of the institute in 2018. The mission of this group is understanding how science communication works to improve the interaction between science and society.

Our research themes are:

  • Bridging the gap between experts and the general public. One of the projects related to this topic is linking quantum technology to society. Moreover, multiple citizen science projects are performed and studied at our department, attempting to narrow this gap. In collaboration with the Hortus Botanicus, we study if participants will develop more attention for urban flora. We also conduct research on citizens collecting data about plastic pollution and animal rescue centers.
  • Evaluating Science Communication. Science is portraited in the media in multiple ways. At our department, we use for instance content analyses to study science in the media, and we try to help people debunk misleading graphs in one of our research studies. Furthermore, we study how visitors experience the difference between real objects and replicas in science museums, and look at global perspectives on science communication. Lastly, in our project ‘Impact Lab’, we measure the impact of science communication and provide support and a toolbox for science communication organisers to measure their own impact.

Both of these themes are linked closely to biology. We perform most of our research within interdisciplinary collaborations. We collaborate with multiple museums, for instance Naturalis and Museon, as well as with organisations such as IVN, and NWA. We work together with international organisations as well, for projects such as GlobalSCAPE and COVCOM. Lastly, some of our staff members collaborate with institutes within Leiden University, including the Leiden Institute of Physics (LION), the Leiden Observatory and the Hortus Botanicus Leiden.

Our master specialisation is open to students of the entire Science Faculty, as well as Biomedical Sciences. The majority of our students comes from a biological background and being within IBL offers them great opportunities for internships and research projects.

We believe better science communication can improve our society and engage many different groups with science, also improving science. This will contribute to the optimal functioning of humans, as part of the mission of IBL.

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