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Inspiring a nation to lead the world in science through public engagement? The role of STEM research centres

Schibeci, R.A., Boyd, D., Buizer, M. and Baudains, C. (2012) Inspiring a nation to lead the world in science through public engagement? The role of STEM research centres. In: 12th International Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference, 18 - 20 April, Florence, Italy

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Abstract

Recent research in science communication has assumed a shift from the ‘public understanding of science’ to ‘public engagement with science’, or from ‘deficit’ to ‘democracy’ (Irwin 2006). Evidence of this shift is found, for example, in the European Union-commissioned report that had amongst its mandates (Felt et al, 2007, p.9): ‘How to further the stated EU commitment to improve the involvement of diverse elements of democratic civil society in European science and governance’.

Given that many scientists work in science (more broadly, in science, mathematics, engineering and mathematics, STEM) research centres, it is appropriate to investigate how ‘engagement’ issues are understood in such centres. Neresini and Bucchi (2010) analysed 40 European research centres in terms of their ‘engagement activities’. Their analysis led them to conclude that “it is a culture of public engagement that still seems to be lacking among most research institutions in Europe” (p. 14).

Is this the case beyond Europe? The research question this paper examines is: How do Australian STEM centres regard public engagement?

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/17495
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