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Training the Third Generation of Science Communicators

28.07.2014 - (idw) Hochschule Rhein-Waal

New 3,5-year degree programme at Rhine-Waal University offers a wide spectrum of international career prospects / No tuition-fees / Focus on new media

Science Communication & Bionics combines the basics of natural sciences and engineering with communication management, taking into account our increasingly complex media environments. Offered at Rhine-Waalan international state university located at the Lower Rhine between Germany, The Netherlands and Belgiumthe new degree programme, which is unique in Europe, prepares its graduates for a job market which is both healthy but also challenging. Cleves / Kamp-Lintfort, 23rd July 2014
Science communicators of the third generation do not see themselves any more primarily as promoters of their institutions, but rather as mediators between the world of science and innovation on the one hand and multiple stakeholders in policy-making, the economy or civil society on the other. Considering the evident changes in the media environment these future communication managers are particularly aware of their social und ethical responsibilities.

In order to secure both trust in science and technology and their societal relevance, responsible communicators need a diverse range of skills, which exceed classical qualifications in journalism and PR. It is the latter two areas which are in the midst of a change process which may well be called historical. Therefore the graduates of the bachelor degree Science Communication & Bionics are expected to be able to almost re-invent their future profession themselves.

Science communication, furthermore, breaks down barriers in our increasingly globalised world. Being able to see beyond ones national nose will open a wide range of career opportunities, says Professor Alexander Gerber, the Course Director at Rhine-Waal: This is exactly why we are offering our programme not only in English but also with a comparative approach: from a methodological point of view we trans-culturally analyse the different systems of media, science and politics.

Students also acquire a solid foundation of natural sciences and engineering with an additional focus on biomimetics, where nature provides the inspiration. Often biological phenomena are models for solving technical questions, which bionicists then transfer into products. Obviously this requires both theoretical and practical knowledge in several disciplines, from Chemistry and Biology to Biomechanics and Behavioural Sciences. Being trans-disciplinary by nature with an inherent focus on technology transfer, Biomimetics is essentially predestined for training the communication of science and innovation.

During their seven semesters, students train their skills in journalism, PR and political communication not just on the crafts-level, but with a specifically strategic and value-oriented management-focus. They learn how scientific results are interpreted responsibly, how communication crises can be mastered or even be prevented, how the impact of communication can be shown professionally in terms of controlling and governance.

Based on their linguistic and scientific skills, graduates of the English degree programme will be well-prepared to take responsibility for a wide range of tasks in communication departments of academic institutions, NGOs or international businesses which are closely connected to research and innovation. Further career opportunities will be in journalism and the media industry in general, as well as in consulting and communication service-providers such as marketing agencies.

The regular time-span to study Science Communication & Bionics is seven semesters. Depending on their focus after the third semester, graduates will either receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Students are required to apply their skills in a science communication internship of eight weeks before the end of the third semester, and in a six-month work placement or university exchange in their sixth semester.

For more information about the new degree programme, the faculty of Technology und Bionics can be contacted at Weitere Informationen:
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