Science is in everything, but how to make all people, without social distinction, appropriate it in their day-to-day life and not see it as something distant, exclusive to 'scientists'? Getting to that, the social appropriation of knowledge, is the main objective of those who disseminate, communicate and do science. Get people to seize scientific knowledge, different knowledge of science, that in daily activities they know and see how science is in what they do or - vice versa - how they can apply science in whatever field of action .

Precisely, since 2020 the Ministry of Science had been working on the Public Policy of Social Appropriation of Knowledge in the framework of Science, Technology and Innovation, which finally entered the regulatory and implementation framework, such as the Resolution 0643 of 2021. It is a work led by several actors, for which popular consultations were made and whose focus is that: appropriation, that citizens use science to solve everyday problems. For this reason it is that from now on, the focus of a large part of communication strategies will be social appropriation.

The aforementioned resolution raises the “generate conditions for the use, inclusion and exchange of knowledge and knowledge in science, technology and innovation (CTeI) for the democratization of science and the construction of a knowledge-based society”.

In other words, the rethinking of the relationships between society and scientific knowledge should be encouraged, so that the latter is not limited to one sector, that it does not stay behind academic barriers, but that it is really in the day-to-day life of all people. .

Following this route, organizations such as the District Institute of Science, Biotechnology and Innovation in Health (IDCBIS) recognize communication as a priority element. Within the institute there is a Science, Technology and Society Thought Center, which is proposed as a space for participation, in which various actors from science, technology and society are summoned to make a reflective analysis.

During the session in which they discussed how to integrate the policy of social appropriation of knowledge in the country, and how to integrate the different actors of the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation (SNCTeI), in terms of the implementation of the law in the territories and regions of the country, Bernardo camacho, Director of IDCBIS, highlighted the importance of thought centers.

Bernardo camacho IDCBIS

He explained that the centers of thought are not centers of absolute truth, they are centers where there is an exercise of debate and dialogue and that serve to generate public value. “We understand that nature is constantly changing and moving. We do not want researchers only from the laboratory, from the microscope; We want thinking researchers who understand the historical reality in which their work takes place”.

“We don't want to do science for science's sake. Science must be developed within a specific historical context. We want to develop science with a purpose to serve society, so that there is development and well-being, which is why we have created this center. Also to counter scientism, and to counter obscurantism and media manipulation”.

He invited not to fall into scientism and to recognize the time, the current context, one of the most difficult that the nation has gone through in decades.“Not only because of the pandemic, but because of the poverty rates in our country, the increase in misery, the marginality. These are moments of deep reflection for the country. The Government has to listen, read what is happening”.

Read also: Lessons for the future of science in Colombia

From theory to fact

Camacho emphasized that, from the institute - which has only existed since 2017 and has been conducting social research since 2018 - research is not done just to publish. “We do research to take its transforming power, to change”. In this exercise, he has focused on communication and support in technological tools, precisely to bring knowledge to society and not remain in a paper, a document, which is consulted mainly by scientific circles.

give cells

An example of this is the case of 'Give Cells', a program to make a national and international registry of blood-forming cell donors (bone marrow explains). In this case, it is not about taking a blood test; it is a transplant, a quasi-surgical procedure, so donors must know very well what they are doing and why they are doing it.

So, before reaching that donor, the institute develops a detailed communication work from digital marketing theories and technology application. For example, they use the algorithms of social networks for creating audiences for science, as well as sociological studies. Once the public has been defined and segmented, the information is distributed, and tools such as a Zoho CRM - traditionally used in commercial matters - are used to monitor the project.

Then, when the moment comes for the dialogue between the expert and the citizen, and in a qualitative monitoring exercise, it has been verified that the people who come to donate have technical and scientific knowledge of what they are doing. Pablo Novoa, IDCBIS communications strategist and member of the Colombian Association of Scientific Journalism, explains that this is a project that had been planned to last 4 years and that it obtained results in just one year.

Sánchez shares that it is the bank with the most blood, due to the appropriation of knowledge. As a result of this dialogue between scientists and citizens from a research center, which is achieved with the application of a work of construction and dialogue. "We have converted marketing to science communication."

The formula that has worked is a mix of theory, tools, and policy framework. That at the end of the exercise is translated into an empowered citizenship of science. They are steps that become precedents. However, according to Novoa, one of the main challenges to advance in the appropriation of science in Colombia is to generate synergies, create and strengthen networks with actors such as disseminators, communicators and scientific journalists to work for this common front, and that there are more interlocutors that unite expert people (scientists) with all kinds of people and thus take away from science that idea that it is only for some.

Read also: 8 strategies to bring science closer to all audiences

Photos: Delaney turner (Unsplash)