The British Science Association has responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's inquiry on science communication, investigating how the Government, scientists, the media and others encourage and facilitate public awareness of – and engagement in -science.

The British Science Association believes that science should be promoted as a fundamental part of culture and society, and we welcome the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee launching an inquiry into science communication. The BSA submitted a response on behalf of our supporters, stakeholders, and beneficiaries.

The British Science Association believes that the purpose of science communication should be to truly involve the public in science – so that science is for all of us, and not just a privileged and professional few. We want to move beyond viewing the public as end-users of science or peripheral to the scientific process, and find ways to integrate public voice in research and innovation.

We believe scientists and non-scientists alike should be able to challenge, champion, critique, and enjoy science as a part of their identity, in addition to its important role as a source of knowledge and driver of innovation. We think that science communicators are fundamental to achieving this, as they bridge the gap between science and the public, can reach new audiences, and bring science out of its silo.

To help build a stronger science communication community that can help bridge the gap, the BSA calls for:

  • Shared motivation. A cultural shift towards increasing science capital, or involvement in science, rather than solely increasing knowledge.
  • Reward for scientists who engage with the public. The best scientists pro-actively communicate with non-specialists and integrate a range of influences and opinions into their work. We would like to see a scientific establishment that values this.
  • A diverse ecosystem. To raise engagement levels, science should be more reflective of society at large. This means we need to improve the diversity within science and science communication.
  • Investment in science communication infrastructure, to share and promote best practice on how to serve the public and science.
  • Shared decision-making about science and technology, with a wide range of views influencing policymaking, and not just scientists’.
  • Linking with other areas of society and culture. Schools and the media could be vital forums in which to do this, but not the only ones.

Read the full response (pdf)

Find out more about the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry