Last thoughts from PCST … and what next?

April 22, 2012

Luisa Massarani

Luisa Massarani
Latin America regional coordinator, SciDev.Net

Well, the conference is finished, and my luggage ready for the 6am morning flight. Before leaving, I asked Massimiano Bucchi, co-chair of PCST 2012, to give me his comments on this year’s conference.

“It was an intense programme. The sessions and discussions were of very good quality,” he said.

Bucchi said the meeting had strengthened “the interaction between research and practice” in science communication, and said for him one of the highlights this year was a meeting of PhD students, which attracted some 60 people from around the world who are engaged in science communication research.

“It was a good opportunity for networking and to make more visible what Italian institutions are doing in terms of public engagement,” Bucchi said.

There was also an announcement in the final session from Toss Gascoigne, about an important change to the PCST network, of which he is the president.

“The network has been working in an informal way for more than two decades, headed by a scientific committee,” he said.

“Now, we [have] decided to make a structural change toward a formal network, with legal status,” he said, adding that the constitution of the network and a membership scheme will be discussed in the coming months.

After the final session, the scientific committee — of which I am a member — met to take some decisions.  We approved two workshops to be held in 2013; one in New Zealand and other in Indonesia.

Then we had to decide where to hold the PCST 2016. We received two bids from two very exciting cities: Nairobi, in Kenya, and Istanbul, in Turkey. Very exciting, isn’t it? And the decision was… Istanbul!

But before the Istanbul conference there is, obviously, PCST 2014 which will be in another part of the globe: Brazil! I will be one of the chairs of that meeting, sharing the responsibility with Germana Barata.

Two strong institutions will host the conference: the Museum of Life/House of Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz, and Labjor/State University of Campinas.

It is very exciting, since it will be the first PCST conference to be held in the Americas. We want to show that Latin America is the stage of an increasingly vibrant science communication community, strong in both practical and academic approaches.

After having had beauty, honesty and quality as the theme of this year’s conference — so apt in such a wonderful city as Florence — we want to add social and political concern ingredients to the discussion on science communication.

So the 2014 meeting will have as its theme, “Science communication for social inclusion and political engagement”. It will be held in Salvador, another fantastic city, with an extremely diverse culture.

See you there!

This blog post is part of our Public Communication of Science & Technology (PCST2012) conference coverage.

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