According to the PCST Network, “Efforts are made to hold the meetings at diverse locations worldwide”. From 1989 to 2010, 11 countries have hosted the congress in Europe (6), Asia (2), Africa (1), North-America (1) and Australia (1).
Hosting PCST in Brazil will be a great opportunity to bring into light, in 2014, and share the experiences, challenges and diversity of Latin America’s fast growing science communication, motivating the participation of students and experts that otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend this international event, as well as helping equate the contributions of each region in the international scenario. Considering the increasingly important role that Brazil is playing in science worldwide, together with the government incentives to increase science and technology outreach, it is a very proper time for PCST to be hosted in Latin America for the first time.
Science and technology have been increasingly embedded in society. Climate change, nuclear power, sustainable energies, research on embryonic stem cells, genetically modified crops, and preserving biodiversity are few examples on how science has been part of the everyday life. Knowledge has played a major role in global economy and value creation depends increasingly on a better creation, diffusion and a better use of knowledge.
Although there have been improvements on science and technology diffusion and expenditure, most of the world faces social exclusion and the disparity in development are still getting rich and poor countries further apart.
In this scenario, science communication is challenged by the need of political engagement for social inclusion. This includes an urgent need toward inclusion and engagement in different topics: low income people who have no access to education and to science goods; people who live in remote areas and have no access to science spaces and science goods; immigrants who have difficulties in understanding the language and the cultural context; disabled people who have no science communication activities tailored to them, and etc. The PCST in Brazil aims at addressing these issues, evoking the debate on how to raise more inclusive strategies, both in developing and developed world, as well as to improve citizenship through public engagement in science and technology and build novel models and practices for communication and participation. An effort should be also made to integrate experiences and practices that consider the voice and views of locals, countryside, indigenous, and the people that are so often forgotten in the so commonly called “public”.
Central Theme: Science communication for social inclusion and political engagement