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World conference on popular science coming to Öresund


Swedish-Danish collaboration paid off — the two neighboring countries will be joint hosts of the 10th PCST Conference in the spring of 2008.

This is not only the first time the conference is taking place in the Nordic countries but also the first time it is to be jointly hosted by two countries.

The application was backed by the Swedish Research Council and the Danish Science Communication together with Malmö University College, Lund University, Copenhagen University, and Öresund University.

PCST stands for Public Communication of Science and Technology and represents a worldwide network of research communicators. PCTS consists of researchers, science journalists, press officers, librarians, and others who work with the dissemination of research information. The network is designed to stimulate a conversation about how research communication is done, and international conferences are one tool.

As mentioned, it is the first time the conference is to be held in Scandinavia, and the main purpose is to strengthen the dialog between the research community and the rest of society.

“With the conference coming here, we can now highlight the Scandinavian perspective on many issues that are normally elucidated from the Anglo-Saxon point of view in international discussions, including issues like research funding. Scandinavian countries occupy a special place in that context, since a much greater portion of research is financed with tax money in comparison with other countries. And the Scandinavian countries have a great deal to learn from other countries when it comes to alumn activities, for example,” says Jasper Steen Winkel, chief communication officer at Copenhagen University.

Just as the Öresund Bridge joins together Sweden and Denmark, the organizers want the conference to serve as a bridge between researchers and the general public.

“Building bridges can also serve as a metaphor for closing the gap between different research disciplines, between north and south, between rich and poor, between knowledge we have and knowledge we need to get,” says Lena Wollin, chief information officer at the Swedish Research Council, who coordinated the application.

It is also a first for the conference to be arranged across national boundaries.

“This shows that collaboration among institutions of higher learning across the border along Öresund enhances our attraction as a venue for international events and conferences,” says Bengt Streijffert, head of the Secretariat for Öresund University. Everyone is also delighted on the Swedish side:

“We are gratified and honored to be chosen to host the conference. This shows the strength and quality that can be generated in a collaborative project like Öresund University. Moreoever, since communication and cooperation with the surrounding world are cornerstones of our work, we are especially eager to be privileged to bring home this conference,” says Lennart Olausson, president of Malmö University College, and Göran Bexell, president of Lund University, in a joint statement.

Annakarin Svenningsson | alfa
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