Australia, Canberra

UNESCO Chair in Science Communication for the Public Good


Description and Mandate of the Chair


The UN 2030 Agenda represents an ambitious vision for transformative global change in the face of planetary crisis. Defined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Agenda was developed around the core insight that environmental sustainability, equity and prosperity are inextricably linked. But working out what this means for the knowledge we create, communicate and use to foster transformation in different settings remains a challenge.

Launching in 2022, the UNESCO Chair in Science Communication for the Public Good responds to this challenge. The Chair aims to enhance the contribution of science communication research to the task of exploring and imagining the knowledge-systems needed for the 2030 Agenda and beyond. It will contribute to UNESCO’s work in fostering the development and appreciation of inclusive, integrative and diverse ways of bringing science, engineering, technology and innovation to bear on the SDGs.

The Chair is housed within the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS). With science communication as our central focus, we will draw on CPAS’ strengths in science and technology studies, sustainability sciences, inclusive science engagement, responsible innovation, informal science learning and science and popular culture.

Transformative knowledge demands sustained attention to issues of culture, meaning and imagination. This includes the question of what forms of knowledge are meaningful in diverse settings and why. It also requires collaborative approaches to elicit and foster inclusive ways of connecting environmental, social and economic matters in the context of diverse histories, assumptions and values.

We contend that culturally embedded concepts of public or common good offer a productive starting point to convene these conversations in the face of diversity. The Chair will seek to elicit and specify what public good means in various settings and the implications for transformative knowledge.


  • To initiate and co-develop a platform for research, knowledge exchange and collaboration in science communication for the SDGs
  • To translate research insights from science communication for developing inclusive knowledge cultures within universities and at the science/policy and science/civil society interface
  • To develop and test frameworks for connecting diverse forms of knowledge about environment, equity and prosperity for transformative change, and identify ways of negotiating diversity in the common good
  • To promote and support a network for science communication in the Asia-Pacific region with links to key nodes elsewhere in the world

UNESCO Chairs Program

The Chair contributes to the UNESCO mission to support cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and the right to share in the benefits of the sciences.

As a member of Orbicom, this Chair is one of three designated UNESCO Chairs in Oceania in the field of communication. It was set up under the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program which has been promoting international inter-university cooperation and networking since 1992. The aim of the UNESCO Chairs is to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The Chairs also make a key contribution to strengthening North-South and South-South cooperation.

The primary activities associated with the Chair include: convening workshops with diverse experts and stakeholders; a Visiting Fellows program; undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for capacity-building to achieve the UNESCO: Agenda in the 21st Century and the transformative goals of the SDGs; outreach and public communication; and collaborative research projects focused on Chair themes.

(Ref.: The UNESCO Chair in Science Communication for the Public Good at the Australian National University, ver. August 2022)

(UNESCO No. 1487)
(Ver. 01-2023)

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