A double-edged sword? Science-society dialogue and its trade-offs

  • Keynote

Niels Mede | University of Zurich

Science communication has moved beyond conveying scientific knowledge to the public. It also enables science-public dialogue and informs social and political action. This shift made science communication more accessible, inclusive, advocative, and democratically legitimized. But openness to dialogue and engagement with society comes with trade-offs, as it also invites public criticism, skepticism, or attacks against scientists and science communicators. Must openness to dialogue come at the cost of such backlash? How to navigate the difficult terrains of dialogical science communication? And how to avoid discounting its merits in the face of such challenges? The keynote approaches these questions from multiple angles: It discusses trends and debates in science communication practice, contextualizes them with scientific evidence, and puts the Swiss context in a comparative perspective.


Niels Mede

Dr. Niels G. Mede is a communication researcher and works as a Senior Research and Teaching Associate at the Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ) at the University of Zurich. His research centers on science communication, digital media, climate change communication, and survey methodology. In 2022, he completed his PhD with a thesis on “science-related populism”. During his career, he worked as a freelancer in market research, media development research, and academic research and was a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and the University of Oxford. He is currently the speaker of the Science Communication section of the German Communication Association and co-leads the global survey project TISP, which is a worldwide study on public trust in science.

Portrait Niels Mede
nach oben