Now Out – National Audit Of Australian Science Engagement Activities – 2012

You can read the full report over at More about the National Audit of Science Engagement Activities, which features:

  • who are Australia’s players in science engagement –  internationally, nationally, regionally and locally
  • where and who is missing out on science engagement
  • how people link their activities or ideas together
  • how people are evaluating their engagement activities, or not
  • patterns within the bigger picture of science engagement in Australia – with lots of opportunity for research

via documents and pages:

Final report: “National audit of Australian science engagement activities, 2012″

and Visualisations:

While I strongly suggest reading the whole document, some elements that caught my eye:

what is good science engagement

It appears science communicators place great value in TV shows, blogs, other interactive mediums and while Dr Karl and David Attenborough still rate highly, clearly there’s still a gap for a newer generation of science communicators. That leads me to look at Veritasium and Khan Academy, RadioLab and TED talks – and how I would have thought National Science Week would have rated higher. Why not? The more locally relevant, the better, it seems.

In addition:

branding of science

Note the comment about Richard Dawkins? The damage created by Geek Chic? And as for the big issues that hinder science communication, check out:

big issuesAgain, do check out the whole report if you’re interested. I did give some feedback as an independent podcaster who often tackles science subjects (just by talking to scientists, more often than not), but there’s a lot of people with qualifications and experience speaking out in this document.

Most engagement is directed to nation- or state-wide target groups predominantly made up of school-aged children or the general public, with usually more than 500 people targeted. Fewer activities were targeted at specific groups such as decision-makers, farmers, politicians and business  leaders. While business was engaged in many activities, this was dominated by mining companies and less by small businesses. 

We believe science engagement in Australia would benefit from a more tailored approach to science engagement that particularly seeks to understand the needs and concerns of those being targeted.The people driving the science engagement tended to be scientists and professional science communicators, and more effort needs to be made to encourage others—such as non-government organisations, businesses and community groups—to drive science engagement.

The federal government is a the major funder of science engagement activities in Australia, and while this is very positive and may also reflect that this project was funded and promoted through Inspiring Australia, we believe a diversity of other funding sources need to be encouraged.

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