The public engaged scientists: motivations, enablers and barriers

  • Date May 9, 2016
  • Hour 3 pm
  • Room GSSI Library
  • Speaker Simona Cerrato (SISSA Medialab)
  • Area Physics


Why do scientists get involved in engaging the public in science? What are the barriers that can prevent them from participating in the dialogue with society? What can be done to facilitate their participation? These are the questions I will tackle in four stages:

  1. Discussion game: through a card game, participants will explore in small groups their motivations to engage in communicating research.
  2. Case study: the four years experience of the children’ university SISSA for schools, and its aims, activities, results.
  3. Research: the outcomes of a series of focus groups conducted with the young scientists who volunteered in SISSA for schools to explore their motivations.
  4. Discussion: the essential role and the strong commitment of the institution to promote, recruit, encourage, support the program of public engagement. The need of professional training will also discussed.

The seminar is open to all GSSI members, both scientific (students, postdocs and professors) and administrative, and contains interactive parts. In order to tailor the discussion parts of the talk to the actual interests of the audience, the participants are invited to take part to the 5-minute online survey available at in the days preceding the seminar.



Since 1989 Simona Cerrato deals with communication of science and has established a relationship with an extended network of scientists, research institutions, universities and communicators all over the world. She has been working at Sissa Medialab since 2005 participating to various projects at an international level: websites and magazines, science and mathematics school texts, museum and exhibition design and realization, training courses for different audiences (scientists, museum explainers, science journalists, teachers, etc.), scientific expeditions, documentary films, European projects on science and society, institutional outreach activities. In particular she is specialized in the communication of science to children and teenagers, with a special focus on gender issues and social inclusion.