Policy-making, communication and governance of science


If there is a peculiarity in the way of doing science and in the way of communicating science in Brazil, it is in the use of the idea of "deficit" in political and economic discourses, as well as in the discourses of socio-technical networks. Our proposal here is not to affirm or reject the existence of this deficit, but rather to understand its workings and its construction as a way of bringing about networks of interest that make use of this idea. For us, this is not an idea which is restricted to the discourse of researchers or of journalists and scientific broadcasters; there is also an echo in the general society, and in different spheres and situations. The idea of deficit with regard to scientific knowledge is functional in Brazil, in conjunction with the idea that the country itself has a deficiency in relation to developed countries. It is as if there were two levels of deficit which join together and empower each other.


A feature of the management of natural resources in the coastal zone is that it involves multiple stakeholders. It has been suggested that the effectiveness of coastal management relies on the cooperation of this multitude of stakeholders in decision-making. This study reports on the findings of an investigation into the modes of interaction used by coastal researchers to communicate with stakeholders. A qualitative research methodology was used through both telephone and in-depth face-toface interviews to elucidate the mechanisms of interaction and, in turn, produce a typology of interaction modes. It was found that there were five main modes of interaction: Limited; Mediator Achieved; Key Stakeholder; Full Interaction and Mixed and that the discipline area in which the researcher worked did not dictate their preferred mode of interaction. It was concluded that although there are a number of limitations to effective participation, these interactions have significant implications for meaningful participation in the management of coastal resources.


Natural parks are a place where science communicates with the public, involving dimensions ranging from the knowledge of living species to the relationship between man and nature, the environmental policy decisions and the anthropic impact assessments. Natural parks are therefore an important arena for scientific communication where the "shared participation" tools play a fundamental role. To this end, we report a few international experiences that illustrate the role of the interest holders and the importance of coordination of the parties involved in the management of parks.


On 16 January 2004, the United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan launched a Global Media Aids Initiative, with the aim of convincing the press, radio, television and Internet to join the fight against what has been called the "forgotten disease of the forgotten continent". Throughout the world, over 40 million people have the Hiv virus. In 2003 there were 5 million new infections and 3 million deaths were caused by Aids.


"We can only appeal to society, considering that governments and parties have fallen constantly short of expectations since the late eighties. The public must know that without research there is no innovation, and without innovation there is no state-of-theart. The lack of research is a handicap for the development of the country". The words of Silvio Garattini, director of Milan's Mario Negri Institute, reveal rage and passion. This is how he explained the reasons why more than one year ago 1,500 Italian scientists made an unprecedented, resolute and unmediated appeal to the general public to back research in Italy.


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