The Israeli Annual Science Communication Conference

Science Communication Takes Center Stage

Scientists and decision makers worldwide are increasingly recognizing the importance of science communication both for science and society at large. The reasons behind it vary - in the Western world, for instance, concern is growing regarding the decline in the percentage of youth choosing science-related careers. Moreover, both in the West and elsewhere, the perceived isolation of the world of science from the everyday realities of the public may have severe implications for issues such as climate change and public health. For these reasons and others, support is growing for understanding science communication and finding ways to improve it.

The mass media is the general public’s primary source of information about science and technology, and it shapes the way science, scientists and socio-scientific issues are perceived by society. Hence, the mass media serves as one of the main areas of interest in science communication research and practice.

In the Israeli context, coverage of science and technology by the mass media is both sparser and poorer in quality than equivalent coverage in other developed countries.  Although the Israeli public reports both high interest in science and positive attitudes toward science, the Israeli media exhibit a general reluctance toward scientific discourse, and science coverage is declining. No Israeli newspaper regularly produces a section devoted to science. Since there are almost no full-time science writers working in the Hebrew mainstream media, science stories are either covered by generalist reporters or by science journalists who have multiple other  responsibilities. Overall, a pan-European comparison of ‘science communication culture’ classified Israel as having a ‘fragile’ culture of science communication (Mejlgaard, Bloch, Degn, Nielsen, & Ravn, 2012).

In an effort to remedy Israel’s disadvantage in this field, our group has co-organized a series of annual conferences, in close collaboration with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The conference brings together scientists, media researchers, journalists, editors, spokespeople, formal and informal science educators, and others who care about the field of science communication, with the goal of creating a community of practitioners and researchers.

Overview of the Conferences

The sixth Israeli Science Communication Conference: 

The fifth Israeli Science Communication Conference

The fourth Israeli Science Communication Conference

The third Conference took place at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in June 2011, focusing on mass media and the new media. Guest speakers included Prof. Bruce Lewenstein from University of Cornell and Nobel Laureate Prof. Aaron Ciechanover. An English translation for the program of the third conference can be found here.

The second Science Communication Conference took place at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, on December 24th, 2009.

The first Israeli Science Communication Conference took place at the Technion on March 16, 2009. The conference attracted almost 100 scientists, media professionals, and formal/informal educators.