- Researchers are more committed to communicating when the research area is of critical impact to society (e.g. health, nutrition) or controversial (e.g. nuclear energy). The range of involvement covers a wide spectrum and their specific involvements can be wider than just their own field.
- It is less likely for researchers working on information society technologies, transport or international cooperation to be contacted by the media, unless they exercise an active approach – either at an individual or at an institutional level – to attract their attention.
- The quality of the media is more criticised by researchers working in the fields with wider societal impact for not being sufficiently accurate, usually because they feel that their stories are being oversold, the results of their work are being magnified, and that there is insufficient understanding of their topics.
- Researchers working in the less topical fields are more upset about quantity issues. Many point out to the fact that the results of their work are relegated by those of other areas with wider media appeal. There is consensus however that this tendency is inevitable as the media are more attracted to those fields that have a stronger impact on people.
- Respondents working in those fields that are less attractive to the media are more likely to perceive that European-funded projects perform better in terms of communication than their national counterparts.
- Researchers working in those areas with wider media impact are more wary than others of the fact that what most interests the media of EU-funded projects is the information that has to do with the funding and the composition of consortia.
- Researchers working in less appealing or more sensitive fields are more likely to perceive the lack of institutional support and are thus more demanding of specific communication tools than those doing research on the topical scientific areas.
- When consulted about the changes in the relationship of science with the media over the time span of their career, researchers working in those fields that experienced wider media recognition in the past years (e.g. environment, nutrition, and industrial research more recently) are more conscious of the magnitude of the changes as they have had a direct impact in the dissemination of their research.
- Researchers in the EU-15 MS are more optimistic about the relation between science and the media than their colleagues in the EU-12 MS, many of whom are especially concerned about the role of politics in the media and the fact that science has lost its public space to other issues nowadays.
- In general, researchers working in the EU-15 Member States – particularly in Germany, France, the UK, The Netherlands, Finland and Scandinavia – are more likely to find it easier to communicate their work to wider audiences because science tends to be more widely and better covered in the media.
- Researchers working in the EU-12 MS tend to have the least exposure and this related to a lack of culture of researcher mass communication. However when working in Europeanfunded projects, researchers from the EU-12 MS put more efforts into communicating the European nature of the project than researchers in the EU-15 because they are more likely to get media coverage.
- Scandinavian, Finnish and Dutch researchers are among the most satisfied with how the media covers science in their countries. Researchers working in other EU-15 MS – in particular in southern Europe – tend to be more critical about the quality and quantity of the media coverage of science in their countries.
- When asked to provide their views on the support they receive to communicate their work, those working in the EU-15 MS – in particular in Sweden, UK and France – are more satisfied. Respondents working in the EU-12 MS believe that there is a need for greater support by their organisations but consider that there is good support from the European Commission.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2 ABOUT THE STUDY
1.3 PROFILE OF RESEARCHERS INTERVIEWED
2.0 SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
2.1 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE AND RESEARCH – SPECIFIC EXPERIENCES
2.2 MEDIA COVERAGE OF SCIENCE
2.3 MEDIA COVERAGE OF EUROPEAN FUNDED SCIENCE
2.4 TYPES OF SUPPORT FOR SCIENTISTS IN COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
2.5 FUTURE CHALLENGES OF COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
3.0 INTERVIEW RESULTS
3.1 SCIENTISTS AND THE MEDIA – AN OVERALL VIEW
3.2 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE AND RESEARCH – SPECIFIC EXPERIENCES
3.3 MEDIA COVERAGE OF SCIENTIFIC TOPICS
3.4 MEDIA COVERAGE OF EUROPEAN FUNDED SCIENCE
3.5 TYPES OF SUPPORT FOR SCIENTISTS IN COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
3.6 FUTURE CHALLENGES OF COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
4.0 MAIN CONCLUSIONS
5.0 ANNEX – INTERVIEW DISCUSSION GUIDE