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Our expertise

Information, Discussion, Participation

Since WiD began in 1999, we have found many different ways of encouraging conversation between science and the civil public. Initially, we primarily focused on conveying information about scientific topics and ways of working. Today, most of our efforts go into developing and using formats that allow citizens to engage with scientists on an equal footing, and formats that help us to reach new target groups. Our expertise and fields of activity are divided into four sections: 

Communication with wide impact

Our nationwide communication section aims to bring science communication to the whole of Germany. We organise exhibitions and events for people of all ages and at all stages of education. In doing so, we can draw on the immense scientific expertise of our associates from Germany’s leading universities and research institutes. 

WiD’s Wissenschaftssommer (Summer of Science) was the biggest science festival of its time. It brought science to the streets and inspired others to do the same. Today, science festivals are a regular occurrence in cities, regions and institutes throughout Germany – with events such as the Long Night of Sciences, which was held for the first time as part of a Wissenschaftssommer. The current flagship of our nationwide activities is the MS Wissenschaft, a floating science centre that travels the waterways of Germany to bring its exhibition to the public. ScienceStation is an interactive exhibition that presents science in railway stations around the country. Our Jugend präsentiert (Students present Science) scheme invites pupils and teachers to give presentations of complex scientific topics to infect audiences with their enthusiasm.

Dialogue on current and controversial topics

Society has changed. Science communication must react to that – and it wants to. Our work has long since moved away from introducing an interested public to the bright, wide world of science. Nowadays, science communication aims to throw light on the research process, highlight the risks and opportunities of scientific work, and to put the different aspects of science into their social contexts. Science communication should also allow citizens to have a say and, where necessary, help influence research decisions.

As part of its "Wissenschaft debattieren" ("Debating Science") research project, Wissenschaft im Dialog worked with the University of Stuttgart to investigate ways of intensifying the dialogue between science and the civil public. The findings are being used in our Controversial Science project, and in our fishbowl discussions, BarCamps, science cafés at night and junior science cafés. Our European student parliaments give young people throughout Europe the opportunity to explore socially relevant scientific topics and develop an understanding of parliamentary decision-making processes. 

Laboratory for science communication

As pioneers of scientific communication in Germany, we want to improve on what we have on offer to find new ways of sparking conversations between scientists and laypeople. We design new event formats and adapt formats from other fields so that they meet the challenges of science communication. We do this to reach very specific groups and to facilitate discussion and participation, and not the least, to let people feel how entertaining science can be and just how passionate researchers are about their work. 

When we set up Sciencestarter, the first German-language crowdfunding platform for science and science communication, we created an unusual approach to raising funds for research projects and began exploring new avenues in communication between scientists and laypeople. With the aim of promoting online videos as a form of science communication, we also created the online video competition Fast Forward Science. 

Platform for sharing experience

Science communication has become more colourful and multi-faceted: science centres and science festivals enjoy huge popularity, out-of-school learning hubs attract children and teenagers, scientific institutes have professional PR departments, and many scientists are in direct contact with the public via social media. WiD creates networking opportunities and acts as a catalyst for advancing science communication. 

Our Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation (Science Communication Forum) has grown to become the biggest scientific community gathering in the German-speaking world. Our further training schemes help young scientists and communicators learn the basic principles of good communication. 

Our formats

We either developed or implemented the following formats in collaboration with our partners and sponsors:

  • BarCamps
  • Citizens’ exhibitions
  • Citizens’ conferences
  • A crowdfunding platform 
  • Fishbowl discussions
  • Junior science cafés
  • Junior science slams
  • Consensus conference
  • (Mobile) exhibitions
  • Student parliaments
  • Scicamps
  • Science festivals
  • Science events
  • An online video competition
  • Competitions
  • Science cafés at night
  • A science film festival
  • Science puppet theatre