What is public engagement?
Public engagement is a two-way process by which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared through the interactions with public. Public engagement provides opportunities for the public to get involved and to generate mutual benefits include gaining new insights, providing new perspectives, developing better research, and stimulate people to be curious about the research going on in the world and why are they important.
Why it is important?
Public engagement informs people by sharing extensive knowledge and allows them to make choices about various issues, such as future ethics issues or funding. On the other hand, scientific discourse can also be encouraged by public input through effective engagement such as patient groups and carer groups feedback to the scientists on what kind of research they would like to see. This provides new perspectives, aid the development of common understanding, and help establish directions for moving ahead on future issues
Keeping public engagement of science up to date
The practice of public engagement of science is rapidly expanding into the use of digital tools. This including social media, websites, videos, podcasts, and apps, which allows new generations to connect with the subjects to increase public discourse while providing an interactive, networked environment for decision-making. This also allows asynchronous community interaction over large geographies and a more sustaining democratic participation over time.
The future of public engagement of science
Although public engagement of science is becoming more common due to the advancement of technology and digital tools, there are little scientific evidence demonstrate the efficacy of public engagement since the societal impacts of public engagement are difficult to measure, due to less perceived face-to-face participation practices in the real world. Therefore to make public engagement more effective, it should also include more science outreach activities such as giving public talks in science festival, visit schools or starting up workshops to give opportunities and open the doors for people who want to hear and learn about scientific concepts and knowledges. And by interact and discuss with the public face-to-face, scientists can expand the reach of their work and make their research more relevant to the society.