The PCST international conference (Public Communication of Science and Technology) has been held every two years for over 20 years. Its objective is to bring together researchers in the field of communication sciences, journalists, mediators and communication professionals to discuss ways of communicating science to diverse audiences. This year, 670 participants attended the conference in Florence, Italy from April 18 to 20 (http://www.pcst2012.org/). A total of 450 papers & posters (from 1000 submissions) were accepted by the committee.
The Bio & Agri portal
The Bio& Agri portal was the sole representative of the Indian Ocean Islands (Reunion, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros), one of the few French communications, and one of the few testimonials about collaboration with southern countries. It received an attentive welcome from South Africa, which is interested in participating in the future. Mean while, the mainstream English-speaking media were also present: EurekAlert (American), an international online scientific news service and SciDev.net (English), the Science and Development Network.
More than just a news service
There is still a long way to go for Bio & Agri, which only opened in late 2011. The network of correspondents is still under construction and training. However, the portal stands apart from existing web media by its commitment to offer more than just a news service on the web.
On the one hand, the way news is offered is varied, designed according to different audiences, and presented in several formats: articles, audio and video. Secondly, in addition to news content and documentary content, practical resources and access to certain courses or activities are offered online. Agricultural or environmental professionals, researchers and students, and also secondary school teachers are targetted and invited to share their resources.
Finally, this tool provides a real source of information and content, which may be publicized and broadcast by other media.
Providing international exposure
In addition to sharing information and resources, the goal of this web portal is to provide international exposure to activities related to agriculture (specifically agroecology) and biodiversity in the Indian Ocean, to enhance knowledge in order to encourage collaborations and new relations, both scientific and agricultural. It comes with an interactive web directory allowing early identification of players and projects in agriculture and food in the Indian Ocean: http://agro-oi.ekoal.org/
Sharing scientific knowledge
The Cirad is a research center supporting the advance of agricultural sciences in developing countries, and thus has an important role in sharing scientifick nowledge, providing scientific and technical information, as well as training professionals in scientific communication. This is one of the main reasons for its involvement in the creation and administration the Bio & Agri Web Portal, and also one of the reasons for attending the 12th Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference (PCST).
More information: http://reunion-mayotte.cirad.fr/en/news/bio_agri_oi_web_portal