TSJC Pursues Science Communication Cooperation with Australian University

    The Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication is moving ahead in cooperative venture with a top Australian university to study public attitudes toward science and technology.

    Professor Joan Leach, director of the Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University, and Professor Jin Jianbin, a leading expert on science communication research at TSJC, reached tentative consensus after meeting on October 13 at Tsinghua.

   “I am glad the meeting has yielded fruitful achievements, as expected,” she said.

    TSJC has been developing a specialty in science communication research, and Professor Jin is in the forefront of its global research. ANU, based in the Australian capital of Canberra, is one of its country’s most prestigious research institutions. Professor Leach accompanied ANU’s president to Beijing, where they exchanged ideas on shared research interests with Tsinghua officials. Professor Jin and Professor Leach discussed empirical research on public awareness and attitudes about contemporary science and technology issues, examining mutual research interests, research approaches and preliminary findings.

    The two eminent academics became acquainted as a result of a major project Professor Jin is undertaking on “Science Popularization and Risk Communication of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Technologies Development.” The Tsinghua project is part of the Genetically Modified Organisms Breeding Technologies Major Project led by the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China. With their common research interest, Professor Leach requested a face-to-face talk with Professor Jin at Tsinghua.

    Professor Leach is immediate past president of Australian Science Communicators and is chair of the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science at the Australian Academy of Science. She began her academic career in science communication at Imperial College London in the UK, and has been awarded a Science Communication Laureateship by Purdue University in the U.S.

    For the past 30 years, Professor Leach has been at the forefront of international science communication through the development of science centers, science outreach programs and one of the world’s first postgraduate programs developing science communicators. That program is the only center in Australia that surveys national attitudes on science and technology.


                                          Professor Jin Jianbin (left) and Professor Joan Leach