The Iowa State University Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities awarded a $30,000 seed grant to the Science Communication at ISU research group to begin building an interdisciplinary scholarly program focused on the effective and ethical use of science communication within controversial policy-making. Jean Goodwin of English, Michael Dahlstrom of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and Kevin deLaplante of Philosophy and Religious Studies will combine their expertise in argumentation theory, science communication and ethics to explore how to guard against the politicization of scientific information and promote informed decision-making. The research team will also host a series of summer symposia bringing science communication experts from around the world to Iowa State University to discuss the challenges of maintaining scientific credibility during heated policy debates. To help future scientists better navigate the complex challenges of communicating science within a policy context, the team will also design and assess a seminar course for graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math fields to disseminate the results of their research.
“Scientists are being called to bridge the gap between science and policy, which is a communicative role that is poorly understood and filled with significant pitfalls, “ said Jean Goodwin. “When policy-makers confuse scientific information with political advocacy, democracy cannot function as it should.” The Science Communication at ISU research group will build Iowa State University’s reputation as a leader in addressing the effective and ethical challenges of science communication and invites faculty with intersecting research interests to attend their monthly colloquium series or contact Jean Goodwin directly about getting involved.