|For twenty years now you have been directing one of the oldest Masters in science communication, of which you were also a promoter within the Pompeu Fabra University. What made you invest so much on this postgraduate degree?
When I joined the Pompeu Fabra University in 1994 as an associate professor of science communication I already had a long history of more than twelve years as a science communicator, fact that allowed me to create and promote science medicine and the environment in La Vanguardia for years. This close connection between the world of science, its dissemination and society in general enabled me to understand the need for a proper relationship between science and society in all areas. As the Pompeu Fabra University is a young university, whose founding Vice-Chancellor (Enric Argullol) is endowed with great foresight, the opportunity presented itself. We created some unusual structures for a traditional public university and, in addition to the specific module, I created an observatory for the transfer of science to society as well as a professional MA which responded to a new but significant demand from the socioeconomic sphere of society. Proof of this was the financial support that these initiatives had from the beginning. Generalitat de Catalunya and some companies helped implementing these educational objectives. In fact, the studies we started ended up creating a demand that was already latent in the professional and business world linked to scientific research and industry. No doubt it was the right time and place to proceed!
How has science communication education evolved in the last two decades?
The digital environment has changed the ways of science communication.
Given the wide range of new masters available, what do you have to offer?
«There has to be a proper relationship between science and society in all areas»
«Our master’s has evolved parallel to the world of science communication to the present easy access to information»
«Studenst that come from the scientific sphere understand the need to improve their own communication skills as a strategic complement to their research»
Among the successes of this MA, which one would you emphasize?
Besides those already mentioned, I think there are two very important aspects that speak for themselves … Today, twenty years after starting the master’s, we have 37 registered students in total (including both the face-to-face version as well as the online version), a figure that sets a record for these twenty years. On the other hand, the most recent assessments point out that 94% of the students who graduated last year say that they would recommend this postgraduate degree without hesitation. At the same time it is also very important that in these twenty years we have not lacked financial support from both companies and institutions (first Sandoz, then Novartis and also «La Caixa» Foundation in the last five years). This support has made the MA possible even in times of economic recession. These grants allow us to offer significant reductions in tuition fees and, in addition to these bonuses, the stable agreement we have with La Caixa enables us to organise and consolidate Campus Gutenberg –a summer school held for the last four years at the Pompeu Fabra University in mid-September with remarkable participation figures. There are also many other networking activities, analysis and promotion of communication and scientific culture held throughout the academic year.
The assessment is …
What challenges arise for the next twenty years?
By the way, from Galileo to Twitter, how much has the world of science diffusion changed?
Maria Josep Picó. Environmental journalist. Chair for Scientific Dissemination at the University of Valencia.
|Publicacions i Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona
Cover of Decir la ciencia. Divulgación y periodismo científico de Galileo a Twitter, (Talking Science. Science Diffusion and Journalism from Galileo to Twitter), essay by Vladimir de Semir recently published.
«Today, at a time of theoretically maximum access to culture and knowledge thanks to information and communication technologies, the task of the science communicator is more necessary than ever»
«We have many technological tools, but we face the uncertainty of this social communication of science derived from messages and mystifying as well as non-altruistic values»