The brand new temporary working group Science Communication kicked off with a pre-conference to determine our aims for the future. With over thirty people from various universities and backgrounds we discussed how we can strengthen science communication research in The Netherlands and Flanders.

Organisers Noelle Aarts, Ionica Smeets and Ini Vanwesenbeeck started the pre-conference with brief presentations on relevant questions. Aarts discussed how broad we should see science communication: there is interaction between science and society at every step of the research process and all these interactions can (and should) be studied. Smeets talked about how science communication research is quite often published in technical or topical journals in stead of communication journals and that it hard to get a overview of who is doing what. Vanwesenbeeck talked about the value of including societal stakeholders to make sure that communication tools researchers develop will still be available to the public when the research projects ends.

After this brief introduction we split up in four subgroups to discuss wishes and aims for the temporary working group. These discussions were summarised plenary and further discussed.

The main conclusions are:

  • Science communication researchers are very happy to finally have a community in which they can discuss their work, since many of them work quite isolated.
  • The definition of science communication should be kept broad to include research on the many ways that science interacts with society.
  • It would be helpful to have a platform where we can alert each other to interesting papers, interesting societal stakeholders, funding opportunities and events.
  • We want to be useful for NeFCA, since every communication scientist also can benefit from evidence-based science communication, we might consider organising a science communication training. Another option is to organise a failure session at the next Etmaal conference where participants discuss not only their successes, but also the things that did not work out.
  • We encourage all interested science communication researchers to become NeFCA-members.

During the rest of Etmaal many people volunteered to be active in organising events and setting up a platform for keeping in touch. Éva Kalmár will set up a mailinglist as a start: anyone interested to join the list can contact her at

We hope to announce or next event there soon!

The steering committee of TWG Science Communication

Noelle Aarts, Éva Kalmár, Ionica Smeets, Aart van Stekelenburg (PhD rep), Ini Vanwesenbeeck