What? Vs. So What?: Science communication in times of crisis

September 3, 2020 4:15 - 5:45

Location: Room 27A


COVID-19 has triggered a flood of misinformation that has been conveyed to an often distressed population desperately longing for solutions to end the pandemic. While research findings generally provide an explanation to the question “What?”, the general public and policymakers are more interested in the consequences of the results, the “So what?”. What can we do to ensure study results are more effectively interpreted and conveyed to the general population in an integral but attractive way? How can science communicators and specialised journalists fill the gap of information that exists between scientists and the general public?

A mixed panel including a scientist, science communicator, journalist and science-policy representative will provide a short overview of the challenges they face and introduce the themes for the main discussion as part of the session. The session will use COVID-19 as a context to illustrate common pitfalls in science communication and how they can potentially be overcome. The discussion will be centered around topics such as what is good science communication and why it is especially important in times of crisis, the ongoing fight against fake news and how miscommunication is having an impact on research policy.

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