Executive Education

Bridging the gap between fact-based politics and public legitimacy

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, political scientists are asking: How political should science be?  

For months now, governments around the globe have been facing challenges that move beyond the borders of the traditional political arena and demand action that goes beyond negotiation and compromise. Scientists have emerged as the most important policy advisers, providing valuable and ultimately, life-saving expertise to policymakers. However, questions have arisen in civil society as to the role science should take in democratic decision making. This is a legitimate question to ask - one that we will address in this workshop.

We will discuss the topic of “Public discourse and the role of science communication” with practicing and experienced science communicators, as well as experts from various research institutions and universities. In doing so, we will address new politically-relevant developments, such as recent reporting on COVID-19. Together with participants, we want to take a closer look at the role of science and science communication in the public debate. After a theoretical introduction by Prof. Dr. Annette Leßmöllmann and Dr. David Lanius from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), we will - among other things - clarify the differences between science and pseudoscience and discuss how to evaluate direct expert communication with the public.

The programme seeks participants who are navigating or bridging the gap between civil society and scientific communities as a regular part of their work, including members and staff of the German Bundestag, policymakers, and administrators from the German federal and state-level government, as well as individuals from other aspects of the German political life. The course content will take place primarily in German.

For individuals interested in participating, please apply by sending an email to executive[at]hertie-school[dot]org

Course Lead and Facilitators

  • Annette Leßmöllmann is a German linguist and science journalist. She was Professor of Journalism, with a focus on science journalism, at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt from 2006 to 2013. In 2013 she took over the professorship for Science Communication and Linguistics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

  • David Lanius is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the DebateLab at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as well as Founder and Director of the German think tank “Forum für Streitkultur”. His research focus is on strategic indeterminacy in law and politics, argumentative patterns of populism, fake news, public debate and the possibilities and limits of constructive discourse.