And here is the link to the complete guide.
I am not new to blogging. I have been blogging for a few years now as scicombio.blogspot.com – “Science Communication with a Biology Twist”.
That blog was going to help me in my journey to clarify what I want to do in my life (no matter how cliché that sounds). Almost three years later I find myself in a different kind of job (and a job that I love!), with another Masters (in Public Policy this time – and do not worry this is the last one) and even in a different country (France)!
At the same time, this journey took my interests far away from those the “science communication with a biology twist” was meant to express. Now I know that science policy is my thing, rather than communication or theoretical genomics.
Thus, it is time for a change. Time to close the old blog and open this one – scipolicyEU – so that I can start posting again!
Time for a new start!
PS Of course I have copied the previous posts from the old blog here – they are not lost!
You might have noticed I have been away for a while.
A side of me wants to say: “I wish I could tell you that I’ve been on holiday”. This side is tired.
The other side, however, wants to say: “I have been working on a Youth in Action proposal for the EU!!!”. That side is enthusiastic and full of energy.
Both sides are saying the truth. Writing a proposal from scratch by yourself is a difficult thing. Especially if you have no experience like me. I will tell you more about the event this proposal is about, if it gets accepted. I don’t want to say anything else, in case I jinx it. Now that the proposal has been submitted, I have finally started to look around me.
One could say that in this blog, I focus too much on UK science policy news, or generally UK science-related events, trends etc. I have to admit, I find them a tiny bit easier to understand, given that I did all my studying in the UK. But there is another reason why I focus on the UK. I am still a bit scared to look at what is happening in Greece.
Probably in 2002, as a naive 2nd year undergraduate, right in the middle of my tree-hugging phase, I looked online to find out what my government’s views were on GM. I was against GM back then, so I was happy to read that the Greek government was too. However, the reality was very different. Since the government did very little to control GM crops, there were many GM fields in Greece. If I remember correctly, they had to burn huge areas when they found out about them, in order to show they were truly against GM. I was very disappointed to say the least.
My problem with science policy issues – e.g. libel law, abortion, animal rights, MMR, homeopathy, etc – is that I have huge gaps in my knowledge, since I only recently started to be interested in them. I have no idea what are the facts, what are the arguments for and against, for many of these issues. Immersed in my world of theoretical genomics, I did not really pay attention when I was in the UK. This was a good thing in a way, because I managed to get my PhD very young, but on the other hand, I now feel completely overwhelmed. Don’t worry, you might say, there is plenty of time. You are right.
Homeopathy is one of the issues I know nothing about in terms of policy. I have met people of course that use it regularly, but i have no idea what is going on exactly with doctor certification, government expenditure, etc.
Why is there reaction to science-related issues in some countries, and in others not so much?
Having lived for almost a decade in a country where there were big reactions to science issues (MMR, GM, mad cow, etc), and having moved back to a country where the reactions are not so big – one could say non-existent – it makes me wonder why is this the case?
Of course it comes down to society, but why? What I mean is, of course there are big differences between the British and Greek societies, but which of these differences cause reaction in the former and not in the latter?
This question has been brewing in my mind for quite sometime now since it is different to communicate science to a society that is against it, than to a society that simply does not care. (A related question: why it does not care?)
What I would suggest is that we are going towards a world where there is going to be a “digital literate elit”, i.e. people that use the internet to their advantage, i.e. to know the right things and connect to the right people – and a “digital illiterate class” which will not be able to advance itself since it uses the internet just for social reasons or entertainment. And like in all early stages of new societies (this is what I think at least, but my sociology knowledge is limited however), the latter is going to be massive and the former a tiny priviledged minority.
Greekgirlinlondon was my internet name and I would like to advise whoever starts an internet presence to be careful which username they choose. I wish someone had told me so 5 years ago when for some reason, this name – one of the least viable in the long-term – seemed to me appropriate.