Talking biotech with the public
In the estimation of risks involved in complex technical applications, such as, for example, gene technology or nanotechnology, the problem of communication between science and the wider society becomes evident. The path towards transparent, authentic and credible communication must be built upon the reconciliation of the risk perceptions of the scientist – and of his or her institution – with the corresponding ideas of risk and communication existing in the society. Additionally, to accomplish goal-oriented discourse within the public sphere and to realistically assess his or her effective options when addressing this public, the scientist is faced with the necessity of reflecting upon his or her own determining assumptions on the condition, constitution and functionalities of this “public”. Combined with the use of modern tools – and supported with supple mentary coaching and organizational consultation – such a foundation allows the establishment of targeted communication with specific groups.