The role of climate scientists in the society

When: individual preparation: 12th – 25th of September. A literature list will be provided, and topics assigned before the course starts. Course: 26th – 30th of September 2022
Where: UiB, Geophysical Institute
Credits: 3 ECTS
Course responsible: Anna-Marie Strehl (UiB), Britta Schäfer (UiO), Julien Pooya Weihs (UiB), Rebekka Frøystad (UiB), Gaurav Madan (UiO), Thodoris Karpouzoglou (UiT), Lea Belosa (UiO)
Max no. of participants: 12 (Members of CHESS will be prioritized if the course is overbooked.)
Registration deadline: 9 September 2022


** Travel and accommodation costs will be covered for CHESS PhD members **


After this course, students should not only be aware of the knowledge gap between scientific community and society, but also of the vulnerability of certain groups within society and their needs. We hope that the participants can define their role as an integrated scientist and learn how to reach a targeted audience.
The course’s subject is climate change, and therefore the targeted participant group is PhDs in climate science. However, some of the content might be transferable to other disciplines.

Learning outcomes:

The students shall …

  • be able to reflect on their role in a multi-facet society
  • know the needs of individual groups in the society. This knowledge is not only helpful for outreach itself, but also for formulating targeted research proposals.
  • learn how to react to different difficult situations that potentially will be faced doing outreach
  • get an overview about guidelines for making “easy-to-follow” presentations. This skill will be helpful especially in outreach, but can also be applied in scientific environments
  • be aware of ethical problems within climate research and be able to reflect on those


The course is split into four parts on which we will spend a day each.

The first day will be used to make participants aware of how much of our own knowledge reaches people without scientific background. We are inviting a local artist and a specialist in scientific art from UiB to get an impression about how to picture complex research.

The second day is dedicated to find out about the vulnerability of society and specific groups within it.

The third day will be spent on finding out about the possibilities that are already existing to face climate change. We hope that this day will be particularly helpful to prepare for questions and frustrated comments regarding the helplessness of individuals facing the global climate change. Psychological aspects of climate outreach will be discussed.

The fourth day is thought to prepare for outreach. Participants will get an introduction about how to make attractive and engaging presentations. In a panel debate with outreach experts from all partner universities of CHESS, we will follow up on ethical concerns of climate research.

The fifth day will be prepared by the participants. They get the chance to practice outreach skills and prepare (and perform!) lectures for bachelor and master students about pre-assigned topics.

Examination: Written report about learning outcomes of one of the course days (1-3 pages) + performance of outreach lecture on last day of the course