In line with the most ambitious short and medium term goals defined by the institution, the Communication Unit is committed to opening i3S to society and encouraging an engagement between the two parts, which often times live cut off from each another. Such engagement is essential to prompt a more responsible research, to enable an effective knowledge translation, and ultimately build a vibrant science productive atmosphere that benefits both civil society and the scientific community.
Therefore, since our establishment we have been working to:
- strengthen the positive and unique corporate identity of i3S;
- feed and promote a healthy dialogue within the institution, as well as effective external communication;
- support researchers in the process of building proficient stakeholder engagement and help them get their breakthroughs across to the public;
- provide the means for a widespread and inclusive participation in scientific and cultural activities, which in turn makes it easier to share scientific advancements and respective outcomes.
The ComUnit follows a three-pronged approach to fulfill institutional needs, always in accordance with the European guidelines for Science with and for Society:
A – Institutional Communication, focused on managing and further developing corporate identity and internal/external communication processes. A solid corporate identity, complete with its graphic and written features, is essential to reach all sorts of audiences, including funding agencies and other research communities. To that end we regularly conceive and produce new tools and contents adjusted to the circumstances in hand, which enables us to appeal to particular audiences.
B – Science Outreach, a crucial exercise for any research institute intent on imparting their scientific progress. Virtually all achievements obtained in our laboratories carry social and economic repercussions and it is important that the public at large understand what they entail. It is up to us, then, to get the word out and make all sorts of audiences aware of what our researchers have been developing for their sake. Besides our usual educational activities, now encompassing high school and higher education students and even groups of teachers, we welcome official visits from bodies interested in getting acquainted with our work and people making it possible. Parallel to this activity, and even if the institute’s research activity garners enough attention on its own, the ComUnit is proactive in the search for extended coverage of our affairs. As a result, we are permanently expanding its sphere of influence by engaging in constructive media interactions.
C – Science, Culture and Society – as a bridge between the i3S community and society, the ComUnit acts as a knowledge brokering platform aiming social innovation and active citizenship by bringing together different stakeholders of a variety of backgrounds. Within this framework, our intention is to lay the foundations for a community where sharing experiences and knowledge becomes the prime value and guiding principle, gathering patient associations, medical practitioners and the general public, among other relevant stakeholders. We are pushing the boundaries on other fronts too, namely by promoting Science & Art interface projects and developing activities combining science and culture targeted at audiences otherwise disconnected from research.
To effectively implement our strategy, the Communication Unit works in close collaboration with the majority of the institute’s transversal units and the Board of Directors, thus expediting the achievement of our collective high-reaching aims.