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The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is one of the world's single largest employers of science communicators, with over 350,000 students and 40,000 staff. Its science communication activities include five museums (Universum, Museo de la Luz, the Geology Museum, Museo de la Medicina Mexicana and Musem of Geophysics), botanical gardens, as well as a wide range of cultural and outreach activities. It has several programmes for training professional science communicators. The science communication staff are spread across the campuses in Mexico City and four other cities, including writers, explainers, researchers, evaluators, who produce exhibitions, magazines, books, theatre, screenings and science cafés. This activity is diverse and sometimes operates to different agendas.
This paper contains an overview of the programmes currently existing in Latin America to train science communicators. For such purpose, only postgraduate courses held regularly were considered in the study. Twenty-two programmes meeting such requirement were identified in five countries, 65% of which were in fact established over the past ten years. They present a lot of diversity in terms of admittance requirements, goals, contents, approaches, duration and graduation requirements. However, all of them share the same effort, aiming to offer specific contents in the area of science communication.
The Red de Popularización de la Ciencia y la Tecnología en América latina y el Caribe (RedPOP) (Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Popularization of Science and Technology) was created 25 years ago as an expression of a movement that started in the 1960s in favour of a scientific education. The purpose of this movement was to incorporate science into the general knowledge of the population by communicating science through different media, products and spaces such as museums and science centres. Since then, the movement has acquired considerable strength in Latin America and RedPOP has been a key factor to the development of this activity in the region, although several challenges still have to be addressed.
Within the UNAM (The National Autonomous University of Mexico) there is an institution, the Dirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia (DGDC) devoted to the popularization of science through different media such as museums, exhibitions, journals, books, radio and TV programs, internet, workshops for children, demos, shows, plays, summer courses and outreach programs. Most of these products and materials are planned, designed and manufactured by a multidisciplinary team of professionals in the DGDC. Some of our most outstanding projects are: the creation and operation of two science museums, UNIVERSUM (on the university campus), and the Museo de la Luz (Museum of Light) in the center of the city, many temporary and traveling exhibitions, museums in other parts of the country and abroad and a monthly publication for young readers called ¿Cómo ves?