GRRIP Workshop: ‘The Deep Waters of Communicating Marine & Maritime Research’

on July 4, 2022

Organized by GRRIP and delivered by Professor Alex Gerber (Rhine-Waal University) to internal consortium partners on Monday, June 20, this workshop provided an overview of how best to communicate sustainability issues researched within the Marine & Maritime sector.

Why is it that researchers and scientists still face public distrust in their work, even when supported by overwhelming evidence and widespread scientific consensus?

In the digital age, sceptics and bad-faith actors with access to communications platforms can easily sow the seeds of distrust that contribute to partisan views and continued rejections of the science. How do we as scientists and researchers navigate this terrain?

How can we overcome the disruptive efforts of sceptics and bad-faith actors and ensure that the science and its outcomes is clear, concise and easily understood by a wide swath of actors across the Quadruple Helix?
By focusing on and understanding the causes and effects of insufficient science and media literacy education we can begin to move beyond the existing / accepted understanding of information behavior and the many outdated approaches currently favored for solving these issues.

Rather than focusing on attempts to educate stakeholders with technical competencies in order to ‘absorb’ facts and overcome ‘ignorance’, we should instead adopt a more pro-active, evidence-based approach, one that seeks to both understand and anticipate these stakeholders’ motivations and the potential reasons they may have for rejecting certain information or policies.
Only then should tailored communication solutions be designed. Our understanding of what works (and why) in informal science education, has improved tremendously over the past two decades, allowing us to plan communication and social marketing initiatives with a greater chance to be effective and resource-efficient.

This workshop provided an overview of the state of the art, specifically in the context of communicating sustainability issues such as many of those researched and developed in the Marine & Maritime sector. Under discussion are the applicability of Responsible Research & Innovation frameworks to institutional settings in GRRIP to explore how ‘shared responsibilities’ can be managed in the Quadruple Helix environment.