‘The scientist as activist’ theme of revamped Bessensap

3 May 2016

On Friday 10 June 2016 the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will organise the sixteenth edition of Bessensap together with the Dutch Association of Science Journalists (VWN). The event will take place at the Rode Hoed in Amsterdam. Bessensap has been revamped this year to be even more in keeping with current developments, both in science and scientific communication.

Logo Bessensap

The goal of Bessensap is and remains to encourage interaction between researchers, science and mainstream journalists, and other communication professionals. The former title ‘science meets the press’ is being replaced by an annual current theme, however. This year it is ‘the scientist as activist’: professors protesting against cut-price meat and climate scientists warning of the present and future disastrous effects of climate change. What role should scientists play in the public debate? And how should science journalism approach activist researchers?

Keynote speaker this year is the American activist researcher Alice Dreger [http://alicedreger.com]. As a historian, she studies the history of science and medicine. At Bessensap, Dreger will discuss what happens when science (the search for truth) and activism (the search for justice) collide. After her keynote address, Dreger will continue her discussion with visitors during a debate on this theme.

> Alice Dreger

More for researchers and press officers

The event will also give more consideration to the wishes of researchers and science press officers. There will be in-depth sessions especially for them on the differences between ‘scientific logic’ and ‘media logic’, for example. During the session designed specifically for researchers, entitled ‘you are more newsworthy than you think’, scientists will talk about the pros and cons of appearing regularly in the media. The event’s host Janine Abbring (a well-known Dutch television producer and presenter ) will moderate both the debate and the in-depth sessions.

Spinoza prize

Aside from the new format, much will remain the same at Bessensap. Eighteen newsworthy scientists will deliver presentations about their research, VWN will organise ‘a glimpse behind the scenes’ again and researchers can attend master classes on communication. The day will end with the customary announcement of the winners of the NWO Spinoza Prize. The NWO Spinoza Prize is the highest Dutch award in science. NWO awards the prize, worth 2.5 million euros, every year to three or four leading scientists working in the Netherlands. The NWO Spinoza Prize is an honour, but more than that it is an incentive for further research.

Source: NWO