Creating common ground as the overarching theme of the conference expresses the ongoing discovery of science communication as the heartbeat of science and technology development. The development of science and technology heavily depends on the ability and opportunities of scientists, engineers, business developers, policy makers and the public to create, participate and collaborate with their colleagues, peers, alliances, in research-to-research relations and research-to-stakeholder relations.
Creating common ground supports the idea of a collaborative network of researchers and practitioners in science communication who study or work within the domains of science journalism, engagement, citizen science, informal science education and innovation.
To solve todays wicked problems requires many stakeholders with conflicting perspectives, willing to deal with many elements that are hidden, unknown and uncertain to come to an answer that is neither right or wrong. An openness towards each other and each other’s views is required. Trust has to be built, so that finally common ground can be found and co-construction of knowledge can take place. Learning from and with each other is central in that process. Not only by agreement, but also through disagreement and discussion. Creating Common Ground is not one-dimensional. Common ground also means heterogeneity, it is also about those who think differently. It is about discussing pre-assumptions and biases, instead of being silently dissatisfied. Creating Common Ground is not about compromising, but it includes explicit uncertainty as well.
Creating common ground entails the idea of a broad perspective on science communication research and its practices. This aligns with the ongoing discovery of the science communication domain. One might look at science communication as a social network of connected professionals and the public, collaboration between research and practices, which all together steers science and technology development and vice versa.
The PCST Network has brought together practitioners, educators and researchers in science communication at its series of conferences, starting in 1989. Previous conferences have taken place in South Korea, Brazil, Australia and many other countries. PCST-2023 puts into practice what we preach: the hosts are a Dutch consortium of science communication professionals, both practice- and research based.