Science in Society

Questions of impact must be considered in the context of a changing society. To reflect on the notion of “impact” within the context of knowledge creation is to question how knowledge interacts within society, and speaks to both a coming together or merging between science and society, rather than a merely causative relationship between these two distinct spheres.

The activities of the Science in Society unit will fall into four broad areas.

The first is the development of an intellectual and research agenda in its first year. This will involve: developing a strategic and intellectual orientation, identifying opportunities for research funding, engaging with funders, and writing proposals. At the same time, the unit will collaborate with HSRC divisions and centres, where opportunities arise to contribute to projects that require a focus on building stronger links between researchers, social partners, and the public.

The second area of work is that of science engagement. Researchers in the unit will be encouraged to play active roles in their intellectual and policy arenas, and to profile the work of the HSRC at major conferences and science festivals. Internal engagement within the HSRC will aim to strengthen links between the Impact Centre and other components of the organisation, and to build knowledge and capabilities related to the role of science in society.

The third area of work is that of publication and dissemination. Policy briefs, peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and other forms of dissemination will be encouraged, with the dual aims of increasing the visibility and impact of our research, and building the reputation of the HSRC as a centre for scholarship on science in society. 

The fourth area of work is that of internal collaboration within the Impact Centre. The knowledge developed within the Science in Society unit will find application with other units in the Centre, including in our joint efforts to develop communication strategies, produce communication outputs, translate research outputs into more widely accessible langauge, act as knowledge brokers in intellectual and policy spaces, and undertake impact assessments.