Are citizens losing trust in science, or are knowledge producers losing their capabilities to build trust in science? Selen Eren, PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies of the University of Groningen - Campus Fryslân's Knowledge Infrastructures Flagship, argues that the latter is more likely the case. Her research project Trust in science: given by default or nourished with care?, supervised by Prof. Dr. Anne Beaulieu and Prof. Dr. Andrej Zwitter, is awarded by the SuSo International Grant that will be held in January 2022
Scientific knowledge is one of the important forms of knowledge needed to take political action on issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. The loss of trust in science is a pressing societal challenge that threatens the legitimacy of political actions based on scientific knowledge. Eren: "However, this is not the only problem. The lack of trust also compromises the production of relevant scientific knowledge, because producing knowledge, especially to address sustainability problems, often requires inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration among different stakeholders with different interests and concerns."
Eren will explore where trust in science comes from among different stakeholders of knowledge production processes, by focusing on bird ecologists from the UG, who work with farmers and local people to produce scientific knowledge about the rapid disappearance of black-tailed godwits and traditional Dutch meadows. To explore sources of trust in science, she will interview farmers, ecologists and local people in this study area.
During the SuSo International Grant, the best research pitch is awarded an additional 1000 euros to be spent on science communication of the results of the research. Eren: "The generous award will help me fund a research visit to one of the leading research groups. During this visit, I will work on recommendations based on the interview data to nurture trust in science in a way that takes into account multiple expectations of science. After all, scientific knowledge is not produced purely by and for scientists in a vacuum, but in collaboration with and for society."
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