I was originally trained as a journalist and discovered my passion for science journalism while working in the foreign news department of Estonia’s main daily newspaper Postimees. This led me to gain a master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London and becoming the editor-in-chief of a popular science magazine. Witnessing and contributing to the quick expansion and professionalization of the field of science communication then brought me to academia where I teach communication skills to scientists and science skills to journalists. I am close to completing my PhD thesis that investigates the various facets of mediatization of science, i.e. the adaptions that scientists and research institutions undertake to increase their visibility in media.
WHY AM I INTERESTED IN RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH AND INNOVATION:
Both my practical and academic experience with communicating science have shown how important the elements of RRI are in supporting the relationship between science and society. I have witnessed how even small improvements in communication and public engagement skills or changes in relevant organizational practices have contributed to a better public discussion about science and technology issues. Other elements of RRI hold a similar potential for improving the societal impact of science. At the same time, I sense that the awareness and use of RRI principles are still low in Estonia despite an urgent sense in the science community that they need to reconsider their relationship with society.
WHAT DO I HOPE TO LEARN / CONTRIBUTE AS COUNTRY CORRESPONDENT:
My first hope for the SUPER MoRRI project is to gain and provide a better understanding of the position of Estonia in the R&I landscape within Europe. My country might be a curious case: on the one hand it can boast with many innovative e-services and a high-quality science, similar to the Nordic countries that serve as our role-model. On the other hand, it often struggles with some values and practices that remind to us of our post-socialist background. The effects of this combination on the adoption and understanding of RRI principles is highly interesting.
I also hope that participation in the SUPER MoRRI project will help to think about questions about the relationship between science communication and other elements of RRI. For example, how they support each other or can be made to support each other better. But also to investigate common underlying mechanisms, such as individual motivation or the role of institutional incentives.