Communication and education are at the very basis of any idea of scientific citizenship. Actually, public engagement in science and technology is unconceivable if citizens and stakeholders do not share updated information, knowledge and capacities concerning, not only science-related contents, but also how science works, including its problems and constraints.
Research organisations as promoters of science communication
There are many reasons why science communication is increasingly necessary, for the sake of both society and science. It requires the involvement of many actors, since science is communicated in multiple ways through, e.g., newspapers, popular books, movies, popular magazines, TV, websites, science museums and science centres. However, universities and research organisations have a major role in that.
In fact, it is of pivotal importance that universities and research organisations become promoters of science communication activities in order to favour the development of a public engagement culture in society. It is no coincidence that, in the last decades, their effort in communicating science significantly increased, bringing them to create, test and replicate a vast array of tools, techniques and approaches in science communication. Often research organisations have developed permanent programmes of science communication, which in many cases paved the way to or are overlapped with public engagement programmes. However, many research institutions keep on neglecting or marginalising public communication of science and there are still many obstacles to science communication to be coped with.
Making public engagement an issue of training and education
Another aspect is training and education. The majority of researchers are not involved with, interested in or even aware of public engagement. This is even truer when the public and external stakeholders are concerned. Hence the need to promote a culture of public engagement through training and education, not only inside, but also outside research organisations. Universities and research institutions may contribute a lot also in this regard.