Authors

  • David C Ireland
  • Craig Cormick
  • Damian Hine

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5912/jcb192

Keywords:

technology, science, society, communication

Abstract

Emerging industries such as the life sciences, animal health, agricultural biotechnology and environmental products offer both a potential for economic growth and improvements in quality of life, crop and stock yield, the environment, and industrial productivity. The growth and success of these industries depends on a combination of good science and good business. Biotechnology, for instance, is one emerging industry that has promised much, yet the delivery still seems to be some way off. Difficulties convincing well-informed investors of the virtues of biotechnology may be indicative of a wider communication failure. Despite numerous initiatives to popularize and sell science, it seems the attitudes and understanding of society towards science and scientists and the importance scientists place on communicating with society remains depressingly low. One-way late-stage communication models have proven ineffective and have only further alienated the very audiences they meant to attract. Solving these problems requires the involvement of both the scientific community and wider society, where appropriate information is presented in a non-guarded and accessible language, and is received by open and willing ears, setting the scene for interactive, educated debates that can progress rather than hinder the science. This paper explores the various science–society interactions and identifies a need for early-stage two-way communication models.

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