Tessa Roedema

RETHINK the European science communication landscape

Athena Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, t.f.l.roedema@vu.nl

Supervisors: Prof. J.E.W. Broerse, Dr J.F.H. Kupper


I completed my Master’s Degree at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in Management, Policy Analysis
and Entrepreneurship in the Health and Life Sciences (MPA), with a specialization in Policy and
International Public Health. This master program focuses on inter- and transdisciplinary research
methods for researching complex societal problems. During my studies, I developed an interest in
interactive learning and action research, an approach I also applied in a research internship titled:
“Desired support systems to facilitate women empowerment for female students in India’s higher
educational system”. Before this, I was involved in the ‘Van Waarde Lokaal’ project at the Wiardi
Beckman Stichting (WBS).

Summary PhD Project

My PhD-thesis is part of the European RETHINK project (Horizon 2020). This project aims to address
current changes in the European science communication landscape. Science communication is at a
pivotal stage in its evolution due to the emergence of digital communication platforms that are not
only presenting new opportunities but are also leading to new challenges. For example, digital
communication platforms have enabled a wide variety of actors to interact with science. The interface
between science and society have become transgressive arenas, in which the boundaries between the
two have become blurred. Fruitful interactions between science and society are not straightforward.
Publics are confronted with an overload of information and science is easily disregarded as ‘just
another opinion’. It has placed a spotlight on the sensemaking practices of citizens on science. A
guiding principle of RETHINK is that the contextual knowledge of citizens and scicomm practitioners
across the EU should play a vital role in shaping future scientific and technological developments –
and the sharing of this knowledge should be facilitated. My PhD thesis will specifically focus on the
practices, roles and repertoires of science communication professionals and scientists and (their
interplay with) the sensemaking practices of citizens. In conclusion, the RETHINK project, of which
my PhD thesis is part, encompasses today’s key manifestations of science communication with a
particular focus on the digital sphere; with the final aim to transform the European science
communication landscape into an interaction between science and society that is open, inclusive,
adaptive and reflexive.