Dr. Susanne Tönsmann is managing director of the Participatory Science Academy in Zurich, Switzerland.
There, Susanne provides scientists and non-scientist citizens with the knowledge and training they need to efficiently work together. The core idea behind their work is to have citizens play an active role in science, rather than just paying for it via their taxes. Susanne and their colleagues are trying different methods and formats to make that happen. This job provides a wonderful opportunity to engage the public (“whoever that is”) and to make science more relevant to the many problems that the world faces today.
Susanne thinks that science, scientists and universities have a responsibility to solve real world problems; this should not be a side effect of research, but at the core. However, researchers in academia are mostly rewarded for publications and acquired grant money.
During their week at @SfPRocur, Susanne will discuss how the academic merit system can get in the way of that responsibility, and what could be done to improve things.