In research and teaching, the division is concerned with the emergence, the characteristics, and use and effects of science, crisis, and risk communication. We focus on public communication in offline and online media and their preconditions, e.g. on national, transnational and online public spheres, or the nature of communication networks.
Currently, three research areas are focused upon:
In the first research area, our focus lies in the perception of media, and their influence, among scientists and scientific institutions. We analyze inhowfar media are observed within science, and whether and how they affect scientific work. For example, we analyze how the need for public legitimization in news and online media shapes communication efforts of scientists and institutional PR in universities.
Secondly, we analyze science communication online. The rise of online and social media has changed science communication considerably. Communication within science has changed, from new modes of collaboration to novel forms of publishing. In addition, the interfaces between science and society have multiplied, changing societal debates about science, allowing society to observe aspects of science that were previously hidden, and even participating in debates about science, in peer review, in citizen science or in financing science via crowdfunding.
The third research field analyzes how scientific topics enter the public debate, how they are presented there, and what effects this has among broader audiences. Thus, we research how scientific knowledge is communicated to the public and to opinion leaders. Specifically, we focus on controversial scientific topics (e.g. biotechnology, nanotechnology, climate change etc.) in traditional and new media debates.