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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: May 2013

8 - Research and public communication in EU policy and practice

Summary

Introduction

Along with the United States, Japan and China, Europe is today one of the major international players in science. Since 1984, the European Union (EU) has been implementing research policy through successive so-called Framework Programmes (FPs). The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) covers the period from 2007 to 2013 and has a budget of €53 billion, representing a 63% increase compared to the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6, 2002–2006). Still, EU R&D expenditures remain, in relative terms, quite low. The latest available data (Eurostat 2008) shows that the EU's 27 Member States, even though together the world's largest economy, devote only an average 1.90% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to R&D compared to 2.76% and 3.44% for the USA and Japan, respectively.

Publicly funded support for research in Europe increasingly encourages and even requires the beneficiaries to engage with the public and the media. For example, most of the UK Research Councils promote scientific outreach activities and provide the training needed by scientists to allow them to carry out those activities effectively. In particular, grant-holders have to develop a public communication strategy and in doing so they can get help from Research Council information and press staff.

Key resources
Cheng, D.Claessens, M.Gascoigne, T.Metcalfe, J.Schiele, B.Shunke, S. 2008 Communicating Science in Social ContextsSpringer
Christensen, L.L. 2007 The Hands-on Guide for Science CommunicatorsNew YorkSpringer
Claessens, M. 2007 Communicating European Research 2005New York: Springer.
Claessens, M. 2009 Science et communication: pour le meilleur ou pour le pire ?ParisQuae
European Commission 2006 Communicating Science: A Scientist's Survival KitBrusselsEuropean Commissionhttp://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/pdf/communicating-science_en.pdf
European Commission 2007 European Research in the Media: The Researcher's Point of ViewBrusselsEuropean Commissionhttp://ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2007/bcn2007/researchers_en.pdf
European Commission 2010 Europeans, Science and Technology, Eurobarometer 340BrusselsEuropean Commissionhttp://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_340_en.pdf
European Research Advisory Board 2007 Research and Societal Engagement, Final Report, 07.013BrusselsEURAB
Royal Society 2006 Science Communication: Survey of Factors Affecting Science Communication by Scientists and EngineersLondonRoyal Societyhttp://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/Influencing_Policy/Themes_and_Projects/Themes/Governance/Final_Report_-_on_website_-_and_amended_by_SK.pdf
References
Claessens, 2008 Communicating Science in Social ContextsCheng, D.Claessens, M.Gascoigne, T.Metcalfe, J.Schiele, B.Shunke, S.HeidelbergSpringer
European Commission 2007 European Research in the Media: The Researcher's Point of ViewBrusselsEuropean Commissionhttp://ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2007/bcn2007/researchers_en.pdf
European Commission 2010 http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_340_en.pdf
European Research Advisory Board 2007 Research and Societal Engagement, Final Report, 07.013BrusselsEURAB
Eurostat 2008 http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table=init=1plugin=1&language=en=pcode=tsiir020
Pew Research Center 2009 http://people-press.org/report/528/
Royal Society 2006 Science Communication: Survey of Factors Affecting Science Communication by Scientists and EngineersLondonRoyal Societyhttp://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/Influencing_Policy/Themes_and_Projects/Themes/Governance/Final_Report_-_on_website_-_and_amended_by_SK.pdf
Schiele, B. 1983 Enjeux cachés de la vulgarisation scientifiqueCommunication–Information V 2
Shimizu, K. 2007 Japanese Survey of the Public Understanding of Science and Technology: Review of Results, Impact and Recent Secondary AnalysisCommunication at the International Indicators of Science and the Public meeting, Royal SocietyLondon