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Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

 Федеральный исследовательский центр «Красноярский научный центр Сибирского отделения Российской академии наук»

Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

Egor Zadereev: Scientific communication has become an integral element of the Strategy for scientific and technological development of Russia

31 May 2021 г. FRC KSC SB RAS

Егор Задереев: Научная коммуникация стала неотъемлемым элементом Стратегии научно-технологического развития России
The 5th Anniversary Russian Forum on Scientific Communications was held in Moscow. For two days, representatives of the communication teams of academic organizations and universities discussed the best practices in this area, talked about the role of scientific communication in the scientific and technological policy of the country. The head of the scientific communications group of the Federal Research Center "KSC SB RAS" Yegor Zadereev took part in the forum as the organizer of one of the sessions and speaker at a plenary discussion.

Scientific communication as a tool for building a dialogue between science and society began to develop in Russia not so long ago. In 2014, the Russian Venture Company launched an infrastructure project "Communication Laboratory", in 2016 the first master's program in scientific communication was launched in Russia, and in 2017 the Association of Communicators in Education and Science was created. The 5th Anniversary Russian Forum on Scientific Communications, which took place on the basis of NUST MISiS, became a sort of “summary” point, which outlines the prospects for further development.

Discussing the tasks, role and importance of scientific communication, a participant in one of the plenary sessions, Deputy Head of the Office of the RF President for Scientific and Educational Policy Denis Sekirinsky noted that in talking about communication between science and society, it is important to remember three questions: who we communicate with, why we do that and what information we give them. If we focus on the Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development (SSTD) of Russia, then the task number one from the viewpoint of the state is to attract talented young people to science. To accomplish this task, it is important to address different audiences, from schoolchildren to their grandmothers, using a variety of communication channels. As for the subject of communication, apart from the scientific results themselves and the essence of the scientific approach, it is important to show the relevance of the scientist. Now in Russia there are quite large-scale and ambitious scientific and technological tasks, and mechanisms for their support within the framework of the national project "Science", and other tools created for the implementation of the already mentioned SNTD. The opportunities existing in the field of science and appearing owing to the current science and technology policy should also be actively discussed.

It should be noted that in the early years, the main players in the field of scientific communication were universities, in particular, the participants in the project 5-100. This was largely due to the fact that educational organizations already had press services, and reorienting them to new principles of work was easier than creating communication departments based on nothing. However, academic organizations quickly picked up the trend and began to use modern opportunities to increase awareness and to advance scientific developments.

One of the first specialized communication units in academic Russian organizations was the scientific communications group of the Federal Research Center "KSC SB RAS", created in 2016. As early as in 2017, it was shortlisted for the first All-Russian Communication Laboratory award, in 2018 this team took second place in the nomination for the best promotion of scientists, and in 2019 it received a small Grand Prix, being recognized as the best small communication team in Russia.

The head of the scientific communications group of the Federal Research Center "KSC SB RAS" Yegor Zadereev shared his impressions concerning the work of the V Russian Forum on Scientific Communication:

In a sense, the forum became an anniversary one. It showed that scientific communication in Russia, despite its small age, became a full participant in scientific and technological development. Among the Forum participants and plenary speakers were vice-rectors of leading universities, directors of academic organizations, representatives of the Presidential Administration, and directors of large innovative companies. The need to build a dialogue between science and society, scientific communication, as the main tool of this process, is spelled out in the Strategy of Scientific and Technological Development of Russia. Russia took this path a little later than other developed countries, but we can say with confidence that it is not lagging behind world leaders.

Now we understand that modern scientific communication is a broader concept than just PR or popularization of science. Of course, it also performs the functions of informing the population, attracting schoolchildren and students, increasing the recognition of the organization and strengthening its image. But scientific communication is also extremely important for the development of interdisciplinary ties, integration of the organization into international consortia and collaborations. Moreover, research shows that scientific communication contributes to the growth of scientometric indicators, for example, the citation of scientific articles.

At the plenary session devoted to discussing the role of the dialogue with society in scientific work, I noted a number of important points. A couple of years ago, we conducted a survey among scientists of the Federal Research Center "KSC SB RAS" about their attitude to scientific communication. Later, we did the same in Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. In total, almost 500 researchers were interviewed. Today this is the largest survey among scientists of academic organizations on this topic. It turned out that the main incentives for scientists to share their work with the public are attracting young people to science, opportunities to attract additional funding and increasing the prestige of science and scientist in society.

It is indicative that it is often active research workers who initiate the creation of such departments in academic institutions. I have to communicate quite a lot with colleagues from other cities. In scientific institutes of Vladivostok, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Moscow, problems are quite common, these are difficulties in justifying the need for an active policy in promoting the scientific brand of the organization, and increasing trust in science among various target audiences.

Indeed, in the past, academic institutions did not have much incentive to pursue such policies. Soviet and post-Soviet science was often closed, and funding was planned. Now the institutes are competing with universities for the personnel and attention of the state. Scientific and educational organizations, regardless of their profile, must prove to the society the importance and necessity of work on a particular subject. The situation with vaccination against a new coronavirus infection is indicative here. When Russian science quickly created an effective vaccine, but the level of public confidence and, accordingly, the rate of life-saving vaccination is extremely low. Such problems are not addressed by administrative orders. This requires a certain level of public trust in science, which cannot be achieved without effective scientific communication. Otherwise, any advanced developments will remain unclaimed by society and the economy.

On the whole, I have a rather positive attitude about the future of scientific communication in Russia. The Forum confirmed that the importance of developing this area is understood at all levels - from researchers to top-level administrators. The ceremony of awarding the winners of the Communication Laboratory 2021 showed that among the best communication teams of the country there are many newcomers, representatives of academic institutions from Moscow, Petrozavodsk, Novosibirsk. Moreover, for the first time the next Forum will be held not in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but in Siberia. Traditionally, the organizer of the Forum is the owner of the Grand Prix. This year all three winners are from Siberia (Tomsk and Novosibirsk). I hope that the Krasnoyarsk Science Center will continue its active development and leadership in the field of scientific communication.

The winners of Communication Lab 2021 Awards

Grand Prix (for high standards of communication work)

Tomsk State University

Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences ("Science in Siberia")

Tomsk Polytechnic University

Small Grand Prix (for high standards of communication work of small teams)

D.I. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology

Institute of Biomedical Problems of RAS

Karelian Research Center of RAS

Experiment (for the best event management practices)

Tomsk Polytechnic University

Educational center “Sirius”

Karelian Research Center of RAS

Superfluidity (for managing communication channels)

Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences ("Science in Siberia")

N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology

North-Eastern Federal University

The effect of presence (for the best promotion of scientists in the media)

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology

Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

Institute of Biomedical Problems of RAS