Integrated Researcher (without Phd)

Manuel Valença

research interests

Communication Sciences and Science Communication

Short Bio

Academic background in Science Communication (ISCSP – University of Lisbon) and Teaching of Biology and Geology (Aveiro University). Master in Science Communication (FCSH – New University of Lisbon), with final project: “Science Communication – a practical guide for scientists”. Professional experience as: high school science teacher at Ovar High School; Science explainer and coordinator of the science explainers team at Fábrica – Science Center of Aveiro; Science communication officer at the Communication Office of the Science Faculty – University of Lisbon. Presently, research assistant at the project “Mobilization of Resources for Public Engagement with Science and technology (MORE_PE) at DINAMIA’CET in ISCTE – IUL.

research project

Science communication has been expanding in the last decades. One of this expansions outputs is the increase in the number of institutions dedicated to science communication (e.g. Science centres and science museums) and in the number of public communication structures created within scientific institutions (e.g. Universities and Research Centres).Academic research in science communication has focused, over the years, in studying the different stakeholders and communication contexts relevant to the field. However is still limited the number of studies that specifically target the professionals that operate in the interface between these institutions and society. As these professionals rapidly grow in number and influence, also grows the need to understand their communication practices, barriers and motivations.Responding to this need, the present PhD project [FCT funded studentship (2018-2021)]  is studying the communication professionals that work in the Portuguese scientific and outreach institutions.Within these organizations, we can find diverse professionals linked to communication activities such as, e.g., press officers, museum explainers/guides, science writers, social networks and website managers or public engagement coordinators. What promptly stands out is the multiplicity of functions that these professionals can fulfill within the organizations. One of the research project goals is to identify and characterize the main professional typologies that can aggregate such diverse professionals. A multidimensional segmentation analysis will be applied using the following dimensions: a) Communication practices; b) Professional motivation and development; c) Professional identity; d) Perceptions on the science communication field and its main stakeholders. To reach these goals, a mixed method methodology will be implemented.Besides contributing to the science communication academic research, this study aspires to inform the development of strategies within the organizations aimed at enhancing these professionals contribution.

Link to DINÂMIA'CET-IUL identifying mission:

 

Within the framework of the research unit, DINÂMIA’CET – IUL, which combines fundamental and applied research on economic, social and cultural topics, three distinct research groups coexist: a) Innovation and Labour; b) Cities and Territories; c) Governance, Economy & Citizenry. Although sharing some main objectives and goals, these research groups are distinct in the social phenomenons and stakeholders in which they center their research goals. or a long time, national governments and international institutions (e.g. ONU, OECD) have been declaring science and technology as main drivers for national economic development. As a result, funding programs have been created over the years, to stimulate and enhance scientific research in the various countries. However, alongside this focus on  scientific and technological development, increasing the public engagement with science and technology is another important goal for these government bodies. Therefore, both the individual members of the scientific community and scientific organizations were asked to take their part in communicating scientific developments with the non-specialized publics. One of the responses to this societal demands was an increase, not only, in the number of institutions devoted to communicating science to and with society (e.g. Science Centres and Science Museums) but also in the number of communication structures created within scientific organizations (e.g. Universities and Research Centres). This led the organizations to hire a growing number of professionals to assume the role of mediating the organization communication with the non-specialized publics.Taking into consideration that the GEC group provides a framework for research on science communication and public engagement, and on the social responsibility of science and research institutions', a clear articulation of the mentioned study with this research group can be established. More specifically, understanding the importance and influence of this professional community in the organizational communication strategy embeds this study within the second GEC thematic line:  Reflexivity, Communication and Social Responsibility of Science.

Sebastião, S. P., Dias, V. V., & Valença, M. (2016) News Coverage, Media Relations and Public Affairs: the case of “Escutas de Belém”. Observatório (OBS*) Journal, 10(2), 31-54.

Main publications

Science Communication: A practical guide for scientists – Final project at Masters degree. FCSH – New Lisbon University, 2016

Valença, M. (2013) From competitive factors to branding strategies in Portugal, a destination to communicate. The communication in Tourism. ISCSP – Lisbon University.

Sebastião S., Valença M., Miranda M. (2008) Carvalho R., Dias V. Digital Advertising in the Homepages of the Portuguese Daily Newspapers: the cases of Correio da Manhã, Diário de Notícias and Público. Observatório (OBS*) Journal, Special issue Networked belonging and Networks of belonging – COST ACTION ISO906 Transforming Audiences, Transforming societies, 029-050.

Claro, P., Goodfellow, B., Trincão, P., Oliveira, J., Valença, M., Pereira, T., Assis, f., Mendes, I., Marques, c., Ferreira, D., Rodrigues, H., Cardoso, M. (2008) Química por tabela. A science show. Chemistry Portuguese Society Boletin, Nº 110.

Main projects

Mobilization of Resources for Public Engagement with Science and Technology (MORE_PE)

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