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Unpacking the Brand of Science

Willingness to Engage Part II

A single word can trigger an immediate torrent of thoughts and emotions. During this webinar, our panelists will review recent data on what the public thinks – and more importantly, feels – when they hear the word ‘science’, and how their reactions differ from those of scientists.

The contrasting intuitions may be at the heart of the longstanding communications divide between scientists and the general public.

Key Takeaways from this Webinar:
  • Science needs better strategic marketing. It's about showing the value of science to our audiences. 
  • Hope is the term that resonates with Americans when it comes to how they feel about science. For scientists, joy and excitement are what resonate the most. 
  • The study also confirms a connection between researchers’ field of study and their feelings about science, an unexpected finding first made in 2018. Physicists most often feel “joy/excitement” about science, while social scientists – just like the general public – most often feel “hope.” 
  • When we look at what scientists believe are the objectives for public engagement, we see that the majority allude to a deficit model of thinking compared to connecting and engaging with audiences. 
  • Scientists tend to have a process-minded approach to the brand of science, compared to the public who have a payoff-minded approach.

See the full AAU report where these results come from here. This webiar is part of the larger Willingness to Engage Series


“How can we try to persuade the public with regards to climate change and other issues if we don’t understand what emotions and ideas the word “science” itself is triggering?” - Dr. Chris Volpe

Leadership - ScienceCounts

Dr. Christopher Volpe is the executive director and a founding board member of ScienceCounts. With an academic background in physical chemistry and two decades of private sector experience in marketing and branding, Dr. Volpe is a leading voice in developing data-driven social marketing strategies to foster stronger connections between the scientific community and the general public.


Todd Newman – The Conversation

Todd P. Newman is an assistant professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an affiliate of the Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Newman’s research focuses on the role of strategic communication within the context of science, technology, and the environment.


This webinar was sponsored by The Kavli Foundation and The Rita Allen Foundation.

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