Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Factors Influencing Scientists’ Public Engagement

  • Fabienne Crettaz von RotenAffiliated withUniversity of Lausanne Email author 


Public engagement; Civic engagement


Scientists’ public engagement can be defined as the actions undertaken by scientists to communicate their research results and interact with the publics outside the university or science sector.

In science communication, the model of “public engagement” has replaced the “deficit model” as a solution to improve a relationship between science and society perceived as problematic. Public engagement was described as a means of restoring public trust in science and in scientific institutions, by encouraging scientists to leave the ivory tower and to engage in a two-way relationship with society. However, there are different approaches to “public engagement” which relate to different fields of academic study (i.e., policy studies, higher education studies, sociology of science, science communication). This entry, focused on the last one, will offer a discussion of the historical background for science- and technology-oriented public engagem ...

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