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Systems of innovation are systems of mediation: a discussion of the critical role of science communication in innovation and knowledge-based development

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posted on 2023-06-07, 14:47 authored by J Gene GristockJ Gene Gristock
This discussion paper highlights the critical role of science communication, not as an 'add-on' topic to bring about the acceptance of science, but as a process which guides the processes of innovation and knowledge-based development. It argues that people do not passively adopt science for homogeneous activities; rather, scientific knowledge and technologies are adapted to the everyday lives of very different communities and vice versa. If one wishes to design processes to support and respond to innovation and knowledge based-development without excluding certain groups of people, it is not enough to say that science is applied in society, nor that technologies impact on society. Rather, what needs to be recognised is that it is through the efforts of science communication activities that scientific knowledge and technologies are made meaningful to the everyday lives of very different communities. It is therefore through the support of science communication activities that socio-economic and political systems may give rise to, and may be influenced by, the patterns of use and adaptation of technologies by different communities of interest. The paper ends with a discussion of the policy objectives of the Office of Science and Technology (OST) and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK, and the kinds of science communication policies that might fulfil those objectives.


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SPRU Working Paper


University of Sussex



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  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications


University of Sussex

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