Everyone's an Expert but Who Is Listening?

Saturday, February 18, 2012: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 208-209 (VCC West Building)
Science has traditionally been regarded as the sound basis for policy- and decision-making: reliable, objective, and valid. In many cases, however, scientific fields are characterized by complex and nonlinear dynamic systems. The uncertainty about what actually can be known makes science in these fields subject to different interpretations and problematic to use as bases for policies, guidelines, rules, and law. What used to be scientific consensus may well be questioned by other researchers, local knowledge, or skeptics. Views held by the public concerning scientific issues have become increasingly interesting. Government-funded research and science-in-society projects invite citizens to participate in activities such as blogs, surveys, focus groups, and youth parliaments. Less is known about how to incorporate the views and knowledge that citizens may have. One study suggests that the "experts' understanding of the public" largely depends on who is in control of the knowledge. And how do ambitious dialog programs actually feed into government and research policies and agendas? Electronic communication and a wide access to scientific information are significant resources needed to tackle the grand challenges that the world is facing. Furthermore, cultural and language differences must be discussed not only regarding countries or continents but also in different political, scientific, or civil society environments.
Jan Riise, European Science Events Association
Mikkel Bohm, Danish Science Communication
Patrick Vittet-Philippe, European Commission
Karen Bultitude, University of the West of England
Robust Decisions Through Commitment, Dialogue, and Communication
Herbert Münder, Science in Dialog
The Need for a Political Mandate and Web Integration
Ralph Matthews, University of British Columbia
Knowledge Mobilization as a Researchable Social Process
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